2019 Is The Year You Give Yourself More Credit

Most of us can think back to a time where someone has given us a compliment, a well-deserved compliment at that, to which we instinctively shut down. “Oh, no, it was nothing, really,” or “I didn’t really do anything, it was everyone else on the team.” We do this even when we did do a lot and we were a pivotal part of that team.

You worked really hard, sacrificed a lot, and slaved over that project. Yet for some reason, you can’t seem to take that well-earned compliment.

Why is it that we can pour our soul into something, challenge ourselves, and achieve things that we never thought ourselves capable of, yet when faced with any sort of rightful praise we push back? Why is it so hard for us to stand proudly when we’re given the credit that we deserve? The answer to that question can lead us to many paths.

If you’re an artist like me, it could be that you suffer from imposter syndrome, where you doubt your accomplishments and have an irrational fear of being discovered as a fraud. Maybe you don’t believe that you deserve the praise because it was a one-off, a stroke of luck. You’re not actually capable of doing that time and time again. Perhaps you don’t like being in the spotlight and having so much attention makes you uncomfortable.

Admittedly, I’m guilty of all of these reasons and more. Taking credit, even when I deserve it, can be cringe-worthy for me. Besides, no one likes a showoff, right? It’s incredible how we can go through so much and still refuse to acknowledge our accomplishments. It seems so self-righteous to deny yourself the pleasure of credit. However, refusing to acknowledge the fruits of your labor is one of the most crippling things you can do to yourself.

So many people talk about self-care in 2019. Our culture is becoming obsessed over #TreatYoself. From moisturizing bath bombs to picking up yoga and meditation, more and more people are focusing on bringing more balance into their lives. However, something we don’t consider when talking about self-care is our self-talk. That is to say, the things we say to ourselves and how that paints the perspective in which we see ourselves.

Consider this, studies show that on average we each have 50,000 thoughts per day. That’s over 2,000 every hour (yes, you even do it in your sleep) every single day. Now think about how you speak to yourself every day. Are you your biggest cheerleader? Think about every time that you actively deny yourself that credit that you deserve. Whenever you discount the effort you put into that project and devalue everything it taught you and how you grew from it.

Add a multiplier of a few thousand to those thoughts over days, months, or even years. What do you end up with?

A shrinking amount of self-worth, self-confidence, and a diminished sense of accomplishment. In a previous article, I spoke about how we tend to compare our behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reels. Being so good at minimizing our accomplishments while holding others on a pedestal makes it increasingly harder to have the confidence we need in our abilities to perform at our peak. It’s why we tend to be so openly creative as children but quickly lose this as we grow older.

In 2018 I was wrestling with what the difference is between arrogance and confidence. Even though I was confident in my ability, I was worried that broadcasting this could come off as arrogant to others. It just didn’t feel right to talk about my wins, especially while others around me were dealing with hardships. However, when I’d celebrate the accomplishments of my peers and saw them deny their own victories, I saw what was really happening.

It pained me to know how hard others have worked for their accomplishments, only to never truly celebrate their triumph. The sleepless nights, attention to detail, and overcoming the emotional hardships that came from forcing themselves out of their comfort zone. I wanted them to win, I knew how hard they had worked for this, and I knew that they knew it, too. I became unrelenting in programming into their minds how important it was to take credit and proved time and time again how illogical it was for them not to see why they should relish in their success.

Truth be told I’ve always been terrible at taking my own advice. I realized that without first leading by example, there was no reason for them to listen to me. That’s when I decided to make a rule for myself to always accept the credit that I was deserving of. Taking pride in the work I did wasn’t about me or my ego, it was about who the work was for and how it would positively impact the world.

I shifted my perspective from being scared of being seen as arrogant for my accomplishments to being proud of working on something that would make the world a better place.

Whether it was rebranding a small business I really believed in or overcoming personal challenges, I knew that the reason I was so proud of the work I did was that the things that I took part of would bring more good into the world. Focusing on my intentions and knowing I was deserving of the growth I received as a result, was enough for me to start to accept the credit that was rightfully mine.

Instead of pushing back on compliments I started to say things like, “thank you, I worked really hard on it and I’m proud of the work I did,” and “It was really challenging work, but it taught me a lot.” Go back to that part where I spoke about the 50,000 thoughts we have a day.

Acknowledging the work I did and really appreciating the fruits of my labor, in turn, made me more confident and excited to challenge myself more. Dropping my cynicism and believing that those who complimented me were genuine and wanted me to succeed, just as I did with my friends, helped me drop my guard enough to objectively see myself.

You deserve that as well. It’s time drop the act of being humble and polite for the sake of others opinions and stand proud of a job well done. Because if you’re not proud of the work you’ve done and can’t give honor to the growth it’s given to you, you’re not only doing yourself a disservice but to everyone around you as well.

There are those who are watching you, learning from you, and aspiring to be like you (whether you realize it or not). Be they coworkers, friends, or your children, your example of how you treat yourself is something that spreads. It’s up to us to lead by example and show the importance of valuing ourselves and the great work we create and continue to create because once we’re free to take the credit we deserve, we free ourselves to the unrivaled confidence that is rightfully ours.