In the UC Berkeley world of internship rejections, impossible midterms and seemingly endless club and research applications, it can be hard to remember to be proud of your accomplishments. In a recent class, my classmates and I were tasked with saying something we were proud of. I was stumped. It had been a while since I stepped back from my world of meetings, essays and projects to think about what I’ve accomplished. Remembering to be proud of yourself doesn’t mean constantly talking about your grades. It means taking some time to realize everything you do and all of the progress you have made. Introducing a little more self-love can be a great step toward feeling happier and more accomplished, even when your world becomes overwhelming.
You deserve to be proud of where you are and what you’ve accomplished — even if you’ve only taken the tiniest steps. A little mindfulness each day can go a long way on your self-love journey. Maybe once a day, you can carve out a little time to journal about the best thing that happened that day. If that feels too intense, maybe you can try journaling just on the weekend or on your days off. If it feels better, you can just consciously remind yourself every once in a while that you are more than enough.
There’s a balance to this kind of practice. Being proud when you usually don’t pat yourself on the back can make a huge difference for your mental health, but it can also affect the people around you. Being intentional about your self love — especially around people who may be struggling to reach goals that you’ve already surpassed — is super important. That’s not to say that you should always consider everyone else’s feelings above your own, but if your friend recently failed a midterm and you recently aced one, maybe find a way to be happy about it that doesn’t involve talking about it in front of your friend and making them feel worse.
It’s also OK to have times when you don’t feel proud. Feeling unhappy and disappointed is a part of life, and faking pride and happiness won’t always make you feel better. Acknowledging times when you feel disappointed is important, and one way to make yourself feel better is to remember and acknowledge past accomplishments. You don’t have to push yourself to find something to feel good about when you don’t feel good. But it’s also important to remember that past accomplishments, as well as perceived failures, don’t define you. You have a whole lot of future to do infinitely more cool things.
Having pride doesn’t always come easily or naturally. It can feel uncomfortable to acknowledge your accomplishments or to share good things that have happened to you, but it can also be very powerful. Introducing active acceptance and appreciation for yourself and your experience is an incredible way to remind yourself amid your busy life that you are working hard. Next time I’m tasked with sharing something I’m proud of, my hope is that I won’t be stumped but excited.
Contact Elysa Dombro at [email protected].