The other day I did a seemingly normal thing - I sent some books out to customers, what I felt was tears welling up. I was still in the post office so I made my way outside, then let the tears flow. I just mailed books, why am I crying? I was proud of myself. Proud of what I had created and proud of the product I was sending out. They were joyful tears after all.
It felt so good to feel the joy and let those tears flow.
It wasn't always easy to allow myself to feel proud. I think it comes from childhood stuff. Perhaps not wanting to brag, or stand out. Which are all restrictive learned behaviours. It's also part of what Marianne Williamson refers to as being afraid to be great. Somehow there is an undertone of consequence. If you are too _________ (fill in the blanks - boastful, proud, happy, loud, excited) then something is going to happen and you don't want to find out what it is.
What I'm learning is that if I cut off any part of my emotional expression I am also cutting off the full expression of who I am. There is not a single emotion that is 'wrong' or needing to be avoided. We just come to believe that parts of us are wrong. Don't be angry, don't yell, don't cry, certainly don't brag about yourself.
I have a news flash for you, if you don't allow these things to move through you they get trapped within you causing other problems. In my life, my lack of expressing myself emotionally and verbally, resulted in my inability to speak up about most things. I would turn everything inward and sort it through on my own. Causing more isolation and disconnection than I truly wanted. It wasn't healthy.
I think part of the problem also arises in the fact that we don't know what would have us feel proud. What are the things that we value, that have us feel really good about ourselves?
So here is what I've discovered.
#1) Figure out the specific things that have you feel proud of yourself.
#2) Figure out why you value that.
#3) Commit to creating that experience for yourself.
#4) Allow yourself to 'feel' that pride even if that means crying happy tears.
I'll give you an example from my life. So these books that I make, 1600 copies so far, which have been sent all over the world, are time consuming to produce. I don't make much money creating them. When I was working with business mentors, many of them told me to stop building those books, you'll never make any money. Sadly, I did listen to them for a time, and stopped making them. I was trying to fit myself into their model. It was a costly mistake for me, financially and emotionally.
Every single time I felt frustrated, depressed, or blue, what did I turn to? Creating a new book and I always felt so much better for having done it.
Bingo. Creating these books does something valuable for me. It is not about business. Emotionally, spiritually, intellectually these books make me proud and have me feel good, damn good.
#1) Building books has me feel good;
#2) I value beautiful, thoughtful hand made things. This is part of the reason that I build exquisite jewellery and weave my own tea towels. I love beautiful things.
#3) Creating my treasures is a regular weekly practice for me.
#4) I allow myself to cry, dance around, and relish in my accomplishments. It feels really, really good.
By identifying these 4 things I have successfully eliminated the childhood limiting ideas around being proud of myself. I have also regained a part of my divine gift. I've become more whole. I faced the ideas that were limiting me and created a new relationship with myself. A relationship that is respectful, generous and kind to my tender creative soul.
I hope this article inspires you to look at these 4 questions for yourself. To ponder what they could mean for you. To inspire you to find your ability to have greater pride in what you do with your life.