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Reclaiming the right to be proud

This time last year I decided to take back some control of my life and to try and drag myself out of the rut (in reality it was more of a chasm) that I had fallen in.  The trigger was my best friend turning to me and offering to pay for some coaching because she couldn’t cope with seeing me so unhappy any longer (and that selfishly she didn’t like not being able to make things better and that made her unhappy so really it was down to me to get things fixed so we could all be happy… or something to that effect)

Since then I’ve taken up every offer of training, coaching, support that I can find and struggled through a myriad of exercises to try and work out who I am now, what I want from life, how I’m going to get there and how I can make the journey easier along the way

All very admirable on paper but blinking hard to do in reality

One of the things I did last year was to try and write down 25 things I was proud of – the idea being that you can look at it to remind yourself how awesome you are in the dark days and that by working out what you really are proud of you can hone in on the things that give you satisfaction and try and do more of them

I really struggled

I spent hours on my commute pondering what might be something I was proud of discarding all manner of things along the way

Having had 3 fairly fabulous children?  Nah not really down to my own efforts and not really that awesome or something to be proud of

Having kept working, kept financially supporting my family, kept a career?  Well the career thing not so much and you know anyone would have done the same

Having survived the 4 and a half months of bed rest with Littler and kept her growing at no inconsiderable cost to myself?  Well anyone would have done the same and I felt at the time that most people thought I was making a fuss over nothing

And round and round and round and round

And round and round and round

I asked N over dinner what he was proud of and, quick as a flash, he answered with 5 things – how did he do that???  He could even draw up a few for me without pausing for thought!

Gradually I managed to find a few under 20 things I considered myself proud of – I didn’t even manage to hit the full number but I did have things I could look at and say, yes actually I am proud of this here thing

What I’ve noticed since then is that I have opened the way to start to let myself feel proud of myself – to embrace that when I do something well I don’t need external verification (which is useful because it isn’t often forthcoming) and I can ignore the years of training to not boast, to not blow your trumpet, to not push yourself forward and I can say to myself that YES I AM PROUD OF THIS

That actually I can be proud of things, that I can allow myself to be proud

Looking back over the last 12 months I am proud of all of these things

I am proud that we got through the rather difficult last 2 years with some degree of grace and dignity and that we have evolved into parents who can and will advocate for Littlest to get the care he needs and to mitigate the impact on the girls

I am proud that I have weathered the changing politics at work and survived another year – that I have ridden the waves and moved roles, that I have carved out a job and that I have not let them grind me down, force me out and I have done this on my own terms

I am proud that I have breastfed Littlest for another year – I provide him comfort, security and constancy and it makes a positive difference to his life that I have done this thing

I am proud that I ran 10km in under an hour – it may not have been pretty but it is an achievement that I am proud of, especially when I had only ever run 5km before September

I am proud of my children – that we are raising 3 lovely small people who generally have nice manners, who are fun to be around and who are growing up into

I am proud

And I am proud that I have got to a place where that is something I can actually feel and embrace

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