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How to Handle the Joy of Your Accomplishments with Class

by Lisa H.

“One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.” Robert A. Heinlein

Have you ever had a moment when you should have been totally happy, but allowed someone to steal your joy right from under you?

A few years back I was training for my first marathon. And in conversation with a woman about my preparation for the race, I mentioned that I had run 99 miles for that week (the most I had ever done in a week, and it happened that way because a scheduling conflict had me doing two back to back long runs).

She said “take care not to brag.” My first thought was “what is she taking about?” Although I didn’t quite understand why she made the comment, it bothered me. And I didn’t want to be someone who bragged, so I didn’t mention that 99-mile week again (until now).

Unfortunately I had allowed her comment to steal the joy that I could have been feeling at the time.

I have since decided that I am not going to allow that to happen again.

Here are a few tips that keep me on track, and maybe they will help you.

1. Feel good about what you’ve accomplished

It is ok to feel good about your accomplishments. Feeling good does not mean that you think that you are better than anyone else. You are simply proud of what you have achieved–and there is nothing wrong with that. Avoid buying into any negativity that may be brought on by family, friends or peers. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.

2. Congratulate yourself without judgment

When you accomplish a goal that you have worked hard for, celebrate it. Celebrate it by congratulating yourself and by sharing your achievement with others. If you want to throw a party for yourself, do that. Buy the hats, streamers and whistles too. You know the hard work that went into achieving your goal and you deserve to be recognized for it. Now I am not talking about singing your praises day-in and day-out. I am talking about giving yourself one celebratory moment where you can justly acknowledge a job well done.

3. Listen to feedback, they may have a point

Should someone mistake your joy for bragging, avoid becoming defensive. As hard as it may be, refrain from withdrawing or telling them that their feedback is wrong. Keep your emotions under control as you listen to what is being said. Whenever you get feedback, you are in a position to learn something about yourself. After the conversation has ended, ask yourself if there is any possible way that what they said could be true. If your first reaction is “no way, that’s not me”, wait a few hours and then ask yourself the question again. If it still doesn’t ring true, move on.

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