Believe it or not, I was quite the athlete growing up, I played softball and soccer and volleyball and danced competitively for years. There were times I’d leave volleyball practice change clothes in the car to make it to dance on time then leave from dance change in the car again to make it to softball, and I loved every second of it. Now, I did all of this on top of being super annoyingly involved in EVERYTHING (I’m talking there wasn’t a club in school I wasn’t involved in, seriously), super obsessed with my grades, and super social; thinking about it now, I have NO idea how I had time to eat or sleep or breathe, but somehow it all got done (thanks Mom ❤ ). The point of my telling you all of this is because something that I’ve been thinking hard on for the last few weeks is the idea of praise, thus I got to thinking about just how much praise I was given growing up. Being involved in everything and putting my best foot forward got people to notice my commitment and acknowledge it. It made those around me, adults and kids, applaud my efforts and my accomplishments. k, cool Shelby why does this matter? WELL, friends it matters because who is applauding you now? Who is in your corner rooting you on? Whether you have a fan club of hundreds or one or two super-fans doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day, you have to be your own cheerleader. You have to be the source of your own applause.
Instead of getting down on ourselves for where we’re not, we need to focus on where we are and on where we’ve come from and applaud that progress. Let me break it down for you- it’s so easy for me to look at my friends who are married and have babies and houses and feel that somewhere along the way I messed up, to question my choice to attend Tulane versus a school where my friends were going, to wonder why I chose grad school rather than to enter the working world. But in each of those decisions came strength, and from each of those decisions came the Shelby that is here today.
I’ve had to make myself look back and see just how much I have accomplished because it’s so much easier to see what I haven’t, can anyone relate? I’ve got my Master’s degree, I have a stable full-time job in my field, I have friends across the world, I made a really freaking good dinner tonight and I washed the dishes right after I used them (!!! go me). I’ve done things that are worthy of pride, I just have to realize it. Applauding those around you is wonderful, so so wonderful, but applauding yourself is necessary.
Take a minute and think about all that you’ve accomplished since the beginning of 2018, no doubt there are both big and small accomplishments to acknowledge, so do that- acknowledge them. Let those be the fuel for you to keep pushing forward even when you feel like you are just spinning your wheels and not going anywhere. Stop comparing your life and where you are to the lives of your friends and co-workers, and for Heaven’s sake, stop comparing yourself to where you think you should be and compare yourself to where you once were. You are where you are because of a lot of hard work, a lot of heart, and a lot of perseverance; being where you are is a huge accomplishment. Don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you who you aren’t and start focusing on who you are and where you’ve come from. You have done great things and are worthy of so much love and praise and applause, so give it to yourself.
Start your week off with a pat on the back, a little self-applause, and maybe a Coke ICEE for good measure #treatyourself. Have a great one friends ❤