I’m the type of person that makes lists, intending to follow them and complete the tasks on said lists. Of course, if the list is written in messy handwriting, or I have made changes to it, I have to rewrite it! I like to complete a certain amount of work every day or else I feel guilty. That sense of accomplishment after completing the things you want to accomplish gives you the opportunity to feel proud of yourself. It gives you a sense of satisfaction, just like getting a promotion or a good grade can make you feel accomplished and proud. Why? Is it how you personally feel, or is it that these accomplishments make others proud of you too?
The definition of the word ‘proud’, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is:
very happy and pleased because of something you have done, something you own, someone you know or are related to, etc. : feeling pride
causing someone to feel very happy and pleased : causing a feeling of pride
What makes you feel proud? Does it always have to correlate to a significant event, milestone, large project, etc.? In my opinion, no.
It is said that in order to love another, you must love yourself first. This includes being kind to yourself. How can you be kind to yourself? Here are a few ways:
- Do things for yourself (find an activity you enjoy!)
- Don’t put yourself down (especially in front of other people)
- Take space/make time for yourself, away from other people
- Relax and try to clear your mind (disconnect from social media, your phone, your devices)
- Be proud of everything you accomplish
I found this article on Yahoo! Health, “17 ‘Little’ Victories That Aren’t So Little When You Have Anxiety”, essentially a compilation of responses from readers, in answer to the following question:
“As I’m sure all of you already know first-hand it can be overwhelming even to do the ‘little’ or ‘normal’ things in life for those with anxiety issues. It’s about time every one of us bragged about our triumphs big and small in our day to day life. I want you to tell me about your victories – large and small.”
As someone with bipolar disorder and who experiences anxiety, there are so many times when I can’t do much because symptoms prevent me from doing what I need to/want to do. I am hard on myself and criticize myself, longing for the times that I can be productive and energetic. After reading this article, and seeing a post on Facebook in one of the groups I follow, which asked something along the lines of “What have you done today to make you proud?” I realized that I can recognize small accomplishments and be proud of myself for going places/completing things when I am having an off day (like emptying out the dishwasher, getting out of bed, putting on makeup).
Today was a perfect example of a day that I thought would be a bad, unproductive day. I couldn’t sleep last night and had also forgotten to take some of my pills. I was lying in bed, trying to sleep and felt a wave of emotions rush through me and began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to make it through the day. We went out for brunch for Father’s Day. I felt warm, had a tight chest, and was nauseous. I felt like I couldn’t swallow or breathe. I didn’t want to have to leave because of the anxiety so I tried to fight it off, tried to talk to myself and took Ativan. About 20 minutes later I felt slightly better. Once I got home, I realized I handled myself well and was proud of myself and felt calmer. Getting up today, going out for lunch and keeping to the plans for today, despite feeling anxious is something that required strength. To be able to sustain being out of the house (general anxiety) and being around people (social anxiety), was facing anxiety head on today.
It is the little things that count. With anxiety, you need to take it day by day or sometimes by minute, depending on how present your anxiety is. When you are kind to yourself, your mind appreciates it.
Take care of yourself and the rest will fall into place!
About Melanie Luxenberg
My name is Melanie Luxenberg and I am finally ready to live openly with mental illness. I was first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2003, which I still experience. At the same time, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety (which I also still experience), and then briefly experienced Agoraphobia. I have had depression on and off since I was 13 years old. In July 2010 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II. Shortly after it was realized that I experienced rapid cycling. I can experience multiple cycles in a week. Despite my diagnosis, I completed a university degree and then a college program. I have always held stable employment, regularly taken my medication and regularly attended my doctor’s appointments. There have been times of hopelessness, but I have always found support from my family, husband and 3 dogs. I am a law clerk, social media/content writer and of course, mental health advocate. My Twitter feed is full of mental health advocacy messages. I hope one day to see the end of stigma towards mental illness, because stigma has to stop!