I see you. I see your strength and courage, your hesitations and fears. I see the way you love others, and your struggle to love yourself. I see how hard you work to grow, and your dedication to heal. (Scott Stabile)
A couple of years ago in I’m Proud of You: Four Words That Mean So Much I talked about feeling proud of other people and ourselves. Picking up on that theme, I’d like to share six times I’ve felt proud in the past week.
1. Completing my blog post for World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day falls each year on October 10 and I’m happy (and proud!) to say I finished my blog post early this year. That was partly because I’d been invited to write something for WMHD for the disability network at work (shout out to Debbie for inviting me to contribute!) and I needed to submit in plenty of time. A slightly modified version will go up here on our blog too, so getting it finished this week means I’m ahead of the game here too. No spoilers, but the piece is slightly different from articles I’ve written for WMHD and other awareness days and events in the past, in that I take a broader look at mental health than usual. It may need a few edits before it goes up but Debbie loved it and that makes me proud too, because I value her opinion very highly.
2. Handling things at work
My official job title is associate I.T. service manager but I find it hard to associate (pun intended) those words with what I do. Those with experience of the UK civil service will recognise my grade of Higher Executive Officer (HEO), but my role and responsibilities bear little relation to those of an HEO in other areas of the organisation. I sometimes feel in limbo, just passing the time until I retire in a few years. This week, though, I had some good days where I felt fully engaged in the work and found myself moving seamlessly between various tasks, meetings, requests, and challenges, discharging each of them in turn to the best of my ability. I’m proud of myself for that.
3. My friend Louise
I’m immensely proud of my friend Louise for how she handled being parted from her phone for almost a week! I’m proud too of how well we worked together, exploring options and then tracking her phone as it made its way back to her. It was a lot of fun and I think contributed to making an adventure out of what could easily have been a really stressful and frustrating experience for her. Heck, I was stressed on her behalf! There’s definitely a lesson there for me, to allow things to be how they are and explore ways forward, rather than getting too caught up in the drama.
4. Making a start in the garden
I’m not much of a gardener, and over the past year or so the back garden in particular has become somewhat overgrown. Not a cosy, hedgehog-friendly, BBC Autumn Watch kind of overgrown, although we have had little spiky visitors in the past. More Little Shop of Horrors meets Day of the Triffids. The ivy in particular has been threatening to make a bid for freedom. In doing so, it’s encroached on the pavement and passageway beyond the garden fence.
Finally, this week, I made a start at cutting it back and returning things to some sort of order. It was a chore, and there’s a lot more work to do out there, but I found myself enjoying it. It brought back memories of working out there day after day through the spring and summer of 2020. With the country under lockdown there was little else to do besides working from home, twice weekly trips to the supermarket, and local walks for exercise. Working in the garden gave me a focus I found really helpful. I’d forgotten how that felt.
5. Prioritising myself
I’ve kept in touch with people this week, but I’ve also paid attention to my needs and priorities. That’s included blocking out off-screen time of an evening, as well as time and space for writing and other things. I’ve been gentle with myself when I’ve felt tired or lacked motivation, and pressed on with things when the energy and opportunity was there. I don’t always do that and I’m proud of myself for doing so.
6. My friends
I mentioned Louise earlier, but at different times and for different reasons this week I’ve had cause to feel proud of several of my friends, and to tell them so. I won’t mention names because not all might appreciate the call-out, but you’ll know who you are if you read this. “I’m proud of you” can come across as insincere, an easy dismissal of the actual challenges someone has faced or is facing. That’s something I described in the blog piece I mentioned earlier. I hope the people I’m thinking about were and are able to accept my expressions of pride in the spirit in which they’re offered. I’m reminded of the RØRY song Small Victories:
Some people climbed Mount Everest today, made historyWhile I was still asleepAt least I made my bed todaySmall victories, mhm
Those lyrics resonate for me because as an armchair (actually, rocking chair) adventurer I watch a lot of mountaineering videos and documentaries. That kind of achievement is beyond me on every level. But big or small (and, really, who is to judge the scale of such things?) the things I do, the things my friends do, the things you do are worthy of acknowledgement and celebration.
Be proud of yourself today. I am.
Photo by Daniel McCullough at Unsplash.