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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Giving Yourself Credit

Do you give yourself enough credit?

I know I don't.

I probably don't actually know the answer about you, but I am pretty confident anyway that the answer is "no" for you too. And that's a shame. I realized that this morning. There is a serious case of credit debt going on around here and it has nothing to do with anyone's financial situation.

Here's my theory on credit. I didn't know I have one but now apparently I do.

I think perhaps so many of us know someone who maybe, perhaps, might give themselves a little too much credit. And as a result, and out of fear of giving ourselves too much credit, we overcompensate their overcompensation, with undercompensation. (Does that make sense?) Like somehow it evens out the world or karma or something.

And I realize there are a lot of "compensations" in that sentence but the only compensation that's going on is actually going to other people! None of those compensations are even for us! We're so afraid of going over the line that we go way way under. We think that giving ourselves too much credit isn't fair to other people (they may in fact be taking other people's credit in the meantime in order to supply themselves with more as the case may be.)

But taking none for yourself isn't fair either.

Consider this.

It's not like you can even save credit for someone else because this type of credit isn't like the credit situation in our country, credit can be given where credit is due and there is no ceiling on how many people can give themselves credit where credit is due, or rather, what I like to call, mad props, yo.

There might be a personal ceiling; an amount of credit that is too much for one person. But just because someone takes too much of it for themselves doesn't mean there's not enough left for other people. In fact, it's probably why we get so mad when someone takes our credit. Because we already don't give ourselves enough credit and now someone's gotta take the little that we're not even claiming? (That part is infuriating!)

But let's just say for a second that we live in a perfect world where no one takes other people's credit. Let's just leave that out of the equation entirely. Because we can just ignore those people anyway in real life. (I usually run far far away from them myself. I can't handle the stress as I get older.)

Let's just get back to our own credit.

How do you feel when someone else does something amazing and then when they're done and you say, "WOW!!!!! GREAT JOB!!" they respond with, "Yeah, I guess it was ok."

Don't you want to shake them and say, "LOOKIE!! LOOKIE AT WHAT YOU DID, THAT WAS AWESOME! You should be PROUD!"

And sometimes we do actually shake them. And they still shrug and say, "I don't know, it was nothing."

(Are you either one of those people in the scenario? I have personally been both.)

So right there. That's the perfect example of credit left unspoken for, left out in the cold, flapping in the breeze. Poor poor, homeless credit. It can't even go to someone else! And now you've gone and left it out in the cold with no home whatsoever (don't you have a heart!?)

See, only you can take it. But yet it goes unclaimed.

We might be hardwired to believe that taking credit where credit is due is actually selfish. But when we don't take it, we actually do ourselves a great disservice. (Not to mention, there is poor homeless credit lying abandoned in gutters everywhere.)

Why, what's the big deal, you ask? What happens when you don't take it (and who really cares anyway?)

Well frankly, not too many people will care that much if you don't take the credit, (it's annoying to people when you take too much and it's annoying to people if you don't take any) but when you continually don't take credit it does something to your insides and you're the only one you hurt.

For one, it lessens your accomplishment. Whatever it is you accomplished becomes "just ok," "mediocre," and "average," when the truth is, it probably isn't. There are things you do that other people simply do not do, for either lack of skill, patience, or basic guts & instinct. And even if other people somewhere in the world can do it and even maybe perhaps better, so what? YOU did it. YOU did. And you should be proud of that!

And because secondly, if you are not proud of that, your confidence falls prey to getting sucked right out into the confidence-sucking-vortex of unclaimed mad props. And you need that confidence to fuel yourself to keep going, keep working and keep building. Throwing your confidence into the confidence-sucking vortex is like throwing all your energy into the energy-sucking vortex and then at the end, ya got nothin.

Ah. I see.

But you still don't know how to actually accept and hold the credit, do you?

(That's ok. I have trouble with this one myself but I think I at least know how. It's the follow through that's the hard part. And also the breaking of the bad habit that is not accepting credit.)

How to give yourself credit

Step One: First, simply give yourself permission. Tell yourself it's ok to be proud of yourself and that it's ok to give yourself mad props. It is not selfish to do so. It is not selfless to let the credit lay homeless in a ditch either. It is, in fact, your personal responsibility to accept credit where credit is due.

Step Two: Accept it! If you're that afraid of looking like a tool by accepting the credit for what you did, there are ways you can accept credit without being a showoff about it. It's true! Just accept it nicely on the outside, have a beer (or two) and celebrate, on the outside you can keep it a low key but visibly happy party, but ON THE INSIDE (where it really counts!) make sure you throw a complete luau and overthetop MTV version of my sweet 16! Be proud of yourself! Let it fill you with confidence! You don't have to ooze with it, but be sure to allow yourself to shine!

Step Three: REPEAT!

I do, completely, understand the irony of this post coming from a person who is currently in an insane amount debt for giving herself credit, that's actually why I am writing this post.

I realized this morning that I am fed up with my current state of lack-of-self-credit-giving and that failure to accept credit is a confidence-sucking vortex.

(Really I just like saying "vortex." It's my favorite word right now.)

I was swimming this morning and currently, I feel like a shark in the water going really fast but the truth is I'm not, and I told my friend "It's like I'm paddling paddling paddling but I'm swimming in place."

However, I did swim a mile. She watched my form and told me I have good form. There is tweaking to be done, as in anything (and also probably nothing that simply more swimming won't overcome), but her words to me?

"You have to give yourself more credit."

Apparently it struck a chord with me because here I am writing this post.

So let's do ourselves a small favor and accept some credit, mkay? If not for yourself, for the poor homeless attention-starved credit out there cowering in the world all by itself. Claim it! It's lonely!

It is your duty!

(I'm going to give myself some credit for swimming a mile (however imperfect it was), cleaning the kitchen, making pancakes and having my coffee, all before 7:30 this morning.)

Now get on out there and give yourself some credit too.

You totally deserve it.

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My Favorite Quotes

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it." - Bill Cosby

I tri because one day I didn't believe in myself. And then one day I did.

"I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist." - Jack London

Some people think it's holding on that makes one strong- sometimes it's letting go.

"Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History."- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Live life PASSIONATELY, laugh OUT LOUD, love UNCONDITIONALLY. - from my spoon rest.

"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." - Ferdinand Foch