like so many people, I always had difficulty in accepting praise, I’d mumble something about not being very good, or else rather than embarrassing myself by blushing, I’d make a joke, or make fun of myself.
I’d been brought up not to show pride in myself or my achievements. Pride is on par with lust, gluttony or avarice ( although to be honest, I never truthfully understood quite what avarice was.) I grew up believing that it was wrong to be pleased with myself – so inevitably I stopped showing my talents – became a mediocre nobody.
I hated having the spotlight on me, even to the extreme! One painful memory involved winning the first prize in a theatre draw. I was mortified! I begged my Father not to make me collect the prize, but I was ritually marched through the theatre towards the stage. I could feel myself burning up, tears pricking at my eyes as I made my way past all of the envious spectators. Why Me? I didn’t deserve to win, I didn’t even want the prize! Surely everyone must believe that I’d cheated? Why Oh why did it have to be me?
I’ve never forgotten that day. It acted as a blueprint for the rest of my life. I would never claim any further prizes, even at Bingo ( which I hated then & now) if I noticed hat I was close to a full house, or winning line, I stopped crossing off any more numbers. I couldn’t bear the humiliation of having everyone stare at me.
I stopped doing the Lottery because I dreaded winning a fortune but not being able to claim it!
Bizarrely though I felt comfortable being on stage, be it as an actor, dancer or singer, I guess that it felt safe because I was playing a part – it wasn’t really me that everyone was staring at. I wasn’t there, I’d stepped back to allow the ‘other me’ to take front stage, I was invisible. Safe.
How different things are now!
Since living alone, since finding out who I really am, I’ve come to understand that there is no shame in being proud of my achievements. I have no need to be embarrased when someone offers praise. I’m only an ordinary person but like everyone else – I am unique. You are unique, we all are & we all have positive attributes as well as weaknesses. I am learning to feel quietly proud when praised & now am able to say a simple “thankyou”.
Recently, in a moment of madness I decided to do something positive, to show gratitude for the abundance that the Universe has bestowed on me. My health was reasonably stable so I took part in Care Internationals’ campaign ” Walk in Her Shoes”, which involved walking 10,000 steps a day, every day for a week. This was to represent the distance that Women & girls in the poorest parts of Africa need to walk daily, just to fetch water.
Although the daily distance wasn’t huge ( approx 5 miles) for a fibromyalgia & angina sufferer who was usually only able to totter for a few steps before collapsing in pain, this was way, way out of my comfort zone! However the cause is very important to me, so I duly proceeded to train myself to walk, with the aid of my pusher, a few metres more each day.
Naturally for this to be a success I needed to gain lots of sponsorship, but as I haven’t lived here for very long, I didn’t have a lot of people that I could call on to support me. Therefore I decided to enlist the help of the local newspaper to highlight my endevours. I wrote a letter, hoping that part of it would be published, what I hadn’t expected was to have an entire article and a full length photo of myself published! Not much chance of anonimity anymore.
At first I was dreadfully embarrased, but soon realised that I needed to embrace this publicity if I wanted to raise awareness of this cause. Good job really because shortly afterwards I was awarded a beautiful bouquet of flowers as that weeks’ most inspirational story.
I soon discovered that being recognised had it’s advantages. I found the courage to ask people to sponsor me & even had my photogragh taken again with my carers’ company, along with a very decent sponsorship.
I began keeping an online account of my training, difficulies & successes, this involved regular updates, photos etc. I admit that I found this quite daunting – taking ‘selfies’ may be the norm these days, but not for me!
By the time the challenge began ( 23rd March 2015) my health had deteriorated but I knew that I needed to carry on – I had invested too much effort & time, besides I needed to do this for ME! I had to prove to myself that I am able to hold my head up, I am able to succeed!
And succeed I did!
I raised quite a substantial amount of money & although now one month later, I am still suffering from the ill effects of pushing myself too far, I AM PROUD of myself. I did what was seemingly impossible for me, I did it without worrying what other people thought.
This has opened a whole new chapter in my life. Why shouldn’t I continue with this positivity?
I have also realised that I was taught wrongly. Being proud is good in the right situation. I now know that I have the right to create my own life rules, as long as I don’t cause harm to anyone.
I’m no longer that terrified little girl.
It no longer matters if people doubt my motives, as long as I know my intentions are good, why should I justify it to anyone else?
There are millions of people on this Earth, most of them stumbling along trying to find their role in life, many of them apologising for their existence. Hopefully they too will one day realise that it is GOOD to hold your head up & say ” This is me, I’m not perfect but I’m proud to be doing the best that I can”
We’ve all got a role to play, never forget that.
Be happy & proud of who you are.
till next time, stay strong,