Stop what you’re doing and clear your mind for a minute. Can you name something you’re proud of? Just one thing. I’m certain you have something.
Friends and I started a ritual last year to share something we are proud of. Every Wednesday at 1 PM Eastern, I had our bot in Slack ask us a short question: What are we proud of this week/month?
You’ll notice that I didn’t call that a “simple” question, because sometimes it can be very loaded. For people who suffer from anxiety, depression, what have you, this can be a very heavy or sometimes triggering question. I intended for it to be an exercise in self-reflection and self-appreciation. The reasoning for this experiment was inspired by Dr. Ayanna Howard. I came across some teaching materials—a classroom poster that I was never able to use in an actual classroom—with her likeness on it and this quote:
Your best champion and cheerleader is yourself. Always be proud of your accomplishments, big or small. — Dr. Ayanna Howard, Roboticist
Some days, we had huge life events to be proud of: getting a promotion, welcoming their first child, getting a new job, or coming out and letting their true self be known. Other days, we were just glad to have been able to get out of bed. Even if you’re in the latter situation, that’s something to be proud of. For the majority of 2020, it was seriously difficult to muster any kind of motivation to make many concrete accomplishments. I’m seriously proud of my friends for keeping up with my question throughout this year and for sharing their accomplishments with me.
So… what are you proud of? If you can’t think of anything, I’ll present this: I’m proud of you for making it through this year, even if just barely. 2020 was hell on Earth. I also sincerely hope that, if you had a particularly rough year, that 2021 brings you peace and prosperity. Have a happy and safe New Year.