Each day this month I will be answering one question from these December Journal Prompts.
Day 3: What are you proud of this year?
“I’m proud of you.”
These are four small words that pretty much every person on the planet longs to hear. And yet, for whatever reason, a lot of us have a hard time saying them to ourselves.
If you’re anything like me, you might not even realize how often you let fear, insecurity, and discontentment rob you of the credit you’re due for all the awesome things you accomplish every day. So many of us tend to focus on our mistakes, the choices we wish we had made differently, or the things that didn’t go according to plan. But we are often blind to the small victories that we win all the time.
I appreciate today’s journal prompt, because it reminds me that it’s okay to give myself a pat on the back once in a while. Truth be told, I’m super proud of some of the things I did this year! And it’s cool to be able to say that because I think it reflects the fact that I am in a pretty healthy mental space right now. I’ve definitely had some struggles this year, but as I look back over the past twelve months, I see a beautiful picture of a life that I am very proud of. And that feels good!
So, let’s celebrate with a list! Here are three things that I can genuinely say I am proud of myself for doing this year!
1. Asking for Help
One piece of advice that I received over and over again when I was about to become a mom was, “don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.” I’m guessing the reason why so many people give this advice is because they all know how scary asking for help can be. It means being super real. It means dropping your pride and admitting you don’t “got this” right now. And for a lot of us, it also means feeling like you are being a burden to someone else.
But I tried to drop the pretenses this year and take this great advice. I don’t know how any woman could ever get through the first year of motherhood without some great support—I know I certainly wouldn’t have survived. I’m very proud of the fact that I did what needed to be done to look after myself this year. I embraced and enjoyed the benefits of the amazing network of family and friends that surround my life, and it kept me afloat.
2. Saying Yes
Like any new season in life, becoming a parent brings with it a lot of unknowns. Walking into this unfamiliar territory, with no real concept for what kind of undertakings would be realistic, was rather scary for me. There were some big endeavors that I wanted to take on this year, but I had to commit to them before Avra was born. This was quite daunting, considering I’d never had a baby before and had absolutely no idea what living with a newborn would be like.
But looking back on this year, I know without a doubt that I said yes to the right things! Attending the Orange Conference in Atlanta, speaking for a full week at Pleasantview Bible Camp, performing in Spring FX and Jingle Jam, and maintaining a steady involvement in the leadership of FBC KIDS are a few of the major ventures that I took on this year. All of them were scary for me to say yes to. Figuring out how to do these things with a nursing baby presented no shortage of challenges. But I didn’t let fear hold me back. I just said yes. And I am very proud of that.
(By the way, I also said yes to parasailing this year and it was worth it!)
3. Saying No
I couldn’t be happier with everything I said yes to this year, but I am also extremely proud of myself for learning how and when to say no. I’m a recovering productivity junkie and a workaholic. The idea of going on maternity leave and just “doing nothing” for 12 months was honestly a very difficult concept for me to wrap my mind around.
Adjusting to the radically different pace of being at home all the time, sitting in an arm chair to nurse 8+ times a day, and not really having any concrete tasks to perform was an enormous mental challenge for me. Parenting is one of the most deeply meaningful things a person can do in life, and yet in those first few months, I struggled daily to feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment. That was hard. I wanted to feel like I was getting stuff done. I wanted to work. I wanted to say yes to all the things.
But I grew into motherhood. Don’t get me wrong—I always adored Avra, and I always loved being a mom. But my understanding of my purpose and role grew over time. And I learned the value in saying no. I learned to step away from my ministry and leave it in the very capable hands of those I had passed it off to. I learned to slow down, turn off my phone, and watch my baby grow. I learned to say no to the right things.
It feels good to acknowledge these things. It feels good to tell myself, “I’m proud of you.” If you haven’t done this any time recently, you should really consider giving it a try. Sometimes you just need to get loud and proud. So come on! Show yourself a little love and answer these question for yourself.
What did you do well this year? What are you proud of yourself for?