“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
–Ursula K. LeGuin
When was the last time you stopped and thought, “Actually, I AM really proud of that?”
Few of us celebrate what we are proud of and most of us never ask this question at all. We’re too busy thinking about what did not go right. We’re wondering how we could have done or approached something better. We’re living our life from destination to destination: from a graduation, a new job, a move, a marriage, a divorce, or overcoming tragedy.
We forget that our lives aren’t lived in the destinations themselves. Rather, it is the pathways between our destinations, the road that is fraught with pot holes and detours, in which we learn how to live.
What have you done that makes you PROUD?
On Sunday, I started my intenSati class off with this question. It’s a pretty powerful question to ask because it isn’t one you can ask in quiet reflection. It’s a question that demands public celebration, reflection and acknowledgement. And with that in mind, I had each person introduce themselves to someone they didn’t know and share something they were proud of. Stories of staying on track with their new eating plan to winning an award at work to following their heart flooded the room. It was pretty amazing to watch and be a part of.
Though I didn’t take the time on Sunday to share (solely for time purposes 🙂 ), I’ve done a lot of things over the past year that I can say I’m proud of. My proudest moment to this day happened a little over a year ago and perhaps the reason I am most proud of this event is that it became a catalyst for me living my life out loud.
Last April, I mustered the courage to come out. I had known this girl for over a year prior to The Talk and the more I got to know her, the more amazing I thought she was. But telling her I had strong feelings for her, was not the same as talking about the weather, new exercises or what happened on the latest episode of Once. And so I buried my feelings. Deep. I rationalized holding everything in: What if she laughed at me? Surely she must know how I feel. Everyone else around me does. What if she doesn’t want to be my friend anymore? What if I’m not really gay and she’s just a crush? This justification worked. For a little while. But when my fear and sadness gave way to staying in bed and avoiding her, I knew that keeping my feelings tucked away was only making me feel worse.
Speaking my truth, that single act of living out loud, gave me the immediate release and exhale I was seeking. But it also taught me a great deal about courage: we only learn courage by couraging. It’s a practice and a lesson that has been invaluable for me, paving the way for me to live open and authentically.
Often times the things we’re most proud of are the things that seem impossible or unbearable at the time. At the time we’re running a marathon, getting a divorce or overcoming tragedy, we deeply imbued in the challenge itself and it’s only after that we gain a sense of pride from the decisions we made or what we accomplished. But, being proud isn’t solely a byproduct of difficulty. We can find joy and a sense of pride in the small steps along the way. In moments EVERY day, we can be proud that we got up and went to the gym even when we didn’t want to. Or that we followed through on a promise, helped a friend, performed a random act of kindness or simply owned our voice.
Heather Small in her song, Proud , says, “You could be so many people / If you make that break for freedom / What have you done today to make you feel proud?” And she’s right. We always have a choice of who we show up as and if we are choosing to live out loud. Pride is simply a feeling of happiness that comes from achieving something whether that’s overcoming fears, grabbing freedom, believing in possibility or taking a step in the direction of our dreams. In the end it is the pathways between our destinations in which we learn how to live. And that’s something to celebrate…
So, what have YOU done that makes you proud?