In this time of celebrating, I keep thinking of why we choose to celebrate the new year with a huge party. After all, it’s not that big of an accomplishment, to stay up past midnight! But I’ve been learning how important it is to celebrate our wins. For a long time I didn’t recognize this, and it held me back in more ways than I knew. I thought I was being modest, I thought it wasn’t nice to brag. But in truth, recognizing our beauty and strengths is what creates fertile ground to grow even more success.
I found more than I was looking for
A few weeks ago I was looking for my social security card. I was applying for new a credit card and they wanted a copy- Being an independent contractor I haven’t needed to pull out my actual card in years! Anyways, I was looking through a bunch of old papers in the garage. I found something interesting. A file of old certificates and letters from high school.
I wasn’t really a good student
You see, I had been telling myself a story for a long time. A story that I wasn’t a good student. I barely squeaked by. I went to a mediocre school for college, not ivy league. When I told my mom I had been accepted into college, she seriously thought I was joking. It was a stupendous moment for me, and I think it became the backbone of my story. “I was such a bad student that not even my mom believed I could get into college.”
I carried that story into college as well, and continued to let my “barely squeaking by” story define my college years as well. I graduated, but it took 5 years instead of 4. I graduated, but “what was I going to do with this degree?” I could not see the light surrounding me for the darkness of a very few and paltry limitations. For in truth I was very blessed.
For some reason I thought I shouldn’t count my blessings. I thought I should lift up my hardships and show them off, to excuse myself for not being “further along” on the path to “success.” I thought it would help me in some way, that people would understand and give me more time, more sympathy, a leg up. Surely they did, and surely they tried, but as long as I kept dragging those limitations out and showing them off, I could not break free of them.
The power of love
So that day when I went into the garage and unearthed this file, I found a treasure trove. I found awards, achievements, certificates. I was on the honor roll twice! I graduated high school with HONORS! This was a revelation. Of course I got into college! I received the Silver Award in Girl Scouts. Not really sure what that is now, but I have a fancy certificate to prove it. It turns out I was a very successful student. Wow. I began to remember that indeed I had received these awards, but somehow neglected to allow them to change me. I hadn’t fully felt how nice it was to be appreciated. I hadn’t felt the warmth of love and acceptance, and so could not appreciate that I was actually a treasured and valuable person to society.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been going to therapy- it’s been immeasurably helpful. One of the most helpful things was in learning how to feel love. This step alone has been amazingly instrumental in increasing my confidence and allowing me to start off on this new venture. Finding these old awards and certificates reminded me that I’ve always been loved. I just didn’t internalize it. So over the past year and going into the next year, I’ll be prioritizing love and self-care, practicing giving and receiving, so that I can even more fully recognize who I am and help others do the same.
Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me!