As someone who very nearly let a long held dream of building an artist website and selling their first piece of art go by without much thought or recognition, I need to make a public service announcement.
Giving yourself a quick pat on the back and then carrying on your merry way when you've achieved something may seem fine in the moment. It may even seem like the more gracious way to go (cos' heaven forbid you might come across as egotistical). But you are really dis-servicing yourself here.
I get it.
You don't want other people to feel bad. You don't want other people to think you're full of yourself. You don't want to really share your joy in case it all comes crashing down (and even worse - publicly). It might not feel like a big deal to you. You might feel like you didn't deserve it, that you're just lucky or an imposter. You might not have a supportive environment in which to celebrate.
These are all very real reasons to some extent. But I would hate to think of someone that I loved making little of something they really worked for and cared about because of ANY of those reasons. We know that they are more than worthy and deserving of all the praise we could throw their way.
And guess what Sherlock. You are worthy of it too.
Trust me, I know it's so easy to blow over this shit when you've got work to do, mouths to feed, chores to complete blah blah blah. Who has got TIME for celebrating, especially if we consider it 'no big thing'. But if we don't make the time to recognise our efforts and appreciate the inner resources it took to get us where we are, we rob ourselves of the chance to become more confident, optimistic and resilient. And you know, happy.
Birthdays and holidays - oh yeah we're pretty good on that. But give ourselves credit for something we actually worked on? Not so much. And I don't mean just the obvious stuff either like promotion, completing a degree or becoming a parent (although all certainly warrant it). I can think of a number of people I have seen do things truly worthy of celebration, even if they aren't the 'traditional' things we celebrate.
So I just want to say:
To the person who has just completed a course of therapy.
To the one who has penned their first piece of poetry since they were a teenager.
To the one started a new yoga practice - and kept it up.
To the one who finally laid down some boundaries with their family.
To the one who put paint to canvas for the first time ever.
To the one doing the deep work of healing old traumas.
To the one who continues to raise their children with patience and love.
To the one who finally had that tough conversation and made it out on the other side with their integrity intact.
To the one who stepped down from a role that was killing them, and chose bold (and healthy) new horizons.
And all the others doing their creating their life consciously, privately or publicly, to their own tune of ambition;
The world will brow beat you into thinking you and your efforts mean nothing. You don't need to add to that narrative. In the same stroke, there are people out there just begging to hype you, if you are brave enough to let them see you. Find your hype crew. Then be your own hype girl.
Validate your efforts.
Let other people see you. And see yourself while you're at it.