I have struggled with my own self-image for a very long time. It is probably a bit of a contradiction that as a Public Relations and Marketing Consultant I actually shy away from attention unless it comes unexpectedly. So for example, if someone praises the work I do or invites me to somewhere amazing because they value my presence I genuinely go through a process of inner shock, then gratitude then happiness. I have absolutely no problem celebrating other people though, that’s what I do for a living, put other people’s visibility before without drawing too much attention for myself.
It has come to my attention however that by shying away and not just celebrating myself BEFORE others do so, I am doing myself a major disservice. I am not growing or excelling in the way I should because I am hiding behind a mask of modesty which no longer serves my greater good. Whilst I’m being honest it has also made me resent my own achievements, this is mad, I know but stay with me. It’s all very well for people to praise me and say well done but then when I look at where I am and where I would like to be I downplay those praises. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle and as a businesswoman it does me absolutely no good whatsoever. I do not want to be seen as a narcissist, someone solely concerned with their own achievements that they are not self-aware or mindful but I know that I need to do more to shine a spotlight on my successes.
So I am learning how to celebrate myself, how to be humble without being modest and here are just a few of the things that I have learnt. I would love you to share your own thoughts and experiences with me too.
1. Do not compare yourself to others.
I think sometimes the fear of self-celebration comes from worrying whether you are in fact doing better than other people or not. But none of that really matters. What really matters is that you’re doing what’s best for you. An inability to praise yourself or even to accept praise is, from my perspective, a symptom of insecurity. Stop comparing and start coruscating.
2. Stay Present, Stay in the moment.
The main reason that I do not celebrate my successes is purely because, in my eyes, they are not big enough. Seriously, I can get a lovely interview or even a fantastic new client but all I do is think about the next goal. I think about the fact that I want more and that it has to be even better. What kind of self-inflicted punishment is that? But I suspect that I am not the only one who does this. We are all guilty of looking to the future instead of just taking a moment to acknowledge and recognise how great life is right now. The moment we stay present to life as it is now, the moment it becomes easier to celebrate when we win at life, and trust me we really are winning at this journey called life, I know I am…(Hooray! I just celebrated myself!).
3. Love yourself as much as you love others.
It really is a simple concept but why does it seem so hard at times to just take the time to love yourself and treat yourself with the same of kind, care and attention that you would treat others. It’s not being selfish, it’s being smart. If you take care of yourself and treat yourself well you will flourish and those around you will enjoy you more. So take the time to reward yourself for every achievement, big and small, that makes you happy and tell people that you’re happy. Love yourself and be your own best friend! What does your best friend do when you do something amazing? My best friend would buy my Champagne or Prosecco and we’d toast life. I don’t wait for her to do that anymore I buy my own bubbles and get toasting and start telling!
4. Keep give without expectation.
Be open and able to give freely, and this instance I mean give praise and acknowledgement to others and to yourself where it is due. By giving without expectation you reduce the chances of becoming resentful if you do not receive anything in return. By giving yourself a pat on the back without even expecting more from yourself it allows you to take stock and be at peace with what you have accomplished without being too hard on yourself to do more than you are ready for. From all of this remember that the more you give, the more you receive, perhaps not materially but spiritually.
5. Let your light shine!
Below is one of my favourite quotes of all time, I still learn from it whenever I read it. Let us remove the fear, the fear of failure or of being deemed to be “too much”, let our lights shine. Do not be afraid to let your light shine, it’s not showing off it is showing the world who you really are.
I hope this has helped someone reading this as much as it has helped me simply by writing it.
Writer: Ronke Lawal is the Founder of Ariatu Public Relations, a company that specialises in professional PR, Brand Development and online and offline PR services for businesses in the United Kingdom and Internationally.
Connect with her on twitter @ronkelawal or @ariatupr