What I Learned About Myself At The End of the Longest Week

Hello, dear readers. I’m glad to virtually see you again.

This week has been so long. And, paradoxically, it’s also felt alarmingly short. I had both kids home from school for Fall Break (I have to roll my eyes at that, since it’s been ninety degrees every day this week). We took them to do some really fun indoor activities and enjoyed making memories with them. But also, I was feeling a lot of pressure that kept me from being totally present.

The deadline for submitting my manuscript to my publisher was Friday. And as we all know—whether it’s a book or an email—when it’s time to hit that send button, suddenly our vision becomes super sharp. All of a sudden, we can see every typo, ever ill-phrased sentence. If you’re me, you also get overwhelmed by feelings of self-doubt, reading every word with a skeptical eye and wondering why anyone would ever want to read it.

Thankfully, that’s just the perfectionist and the imposter syndrome in me talking. I love this book. Love what I’ve written. Love what it means to me. I am so thrilled to have finally achieved this milestone that brings me one step closer to holding a book with my own name on it.

In the midst of this long, and yet, far too short week, I’ve learned a few things about myself. It might make more sense to share these discoveries in my journal instead of a public blog, but I think there may be some utility in sharing it here. Sometimes, just seeing the things other people are learning about themselves helps us understand ourselves better, too. I am someone who tends to focus on my negative traits. This week certainly threw those traits into sharp focus, since I spent most of the week being anxious and overwhelmed. But, when I take a look at the big picture, I see some really incredible positive traits that shone through, too. I want to take a moment to celebrate those. I invite you to examine your week and look for things you can celebrate, too. Here is what I’m celebrating this week:

1) I am incredibly resilient under pressure. Even when I am stressed out and have way too much on my plate, I always find a way to get the job done.

2) I have learned how to harness my anxiety and use it for good. Anxiety can be crippling. I’m thankful for my daily SSRI and for a supportive husband who does everything he can to take stress off my shoulders. But also, through this long journey of grappling with my anxiousness, I’ve learned how to embrace it and use it for good. I’ve even learned how to think positively about it. My anxiety makes me conscientious, timely, respectful of others. It makes me overly polite sometimes, and although I need to work on finding balance with that, it’s something I like about myself. Anxiety makes me driven and focused. It’s what stokes me to success . These are all things I can celebrate when I’m feeling down about the bad stuff my anxiety does.

3) My children get to see what a working mom’s life is really like. I love that I get to do my job from home and usually around my children. I have a son and a daughter. I want my daughter to understand that, even with a supportive spouse, being a mom who works from home is incredibly hard. I’m glad she’s seeing what it takes to “have it all”—the dream of having kids and a career. I want her to take that all into account when she makes choices about whether she wants to get married, have children, and have a career. As for my son, I know the world will be more charitable to him if he decides to work and be a parent. If he chooses to marry a woman one day, I want him to be aware of the plight of moms who work. I need him to be a husband who is sensitive and supportive, who anticipates the needs of his working wife and shows up for her the way my husband does for me. I’m glad my husband and I get to model that for our kids.

4) I love work. Like, I LOVE love it. This is something I admire about myself. In my 38 years, I’ve been called overly ambitious, too achievement oriented, overly fixated on success. The world loves to apply such words to women with career goals. I am proud of my zeal for success.

5) I have amazing people in my life. They say you find out who really cares about you when you’re down, but I’d argue you find that out just as easily when you’re up. Some people love to cheer you on while you’re scaling the mountain, but once you reach the top, suddenly their cheering stops. I’ve learned this week that I have the right people at my table—something I’ve been working so hard to do over the last two years. I have family and friends who love me, who support me, who cheer me on when I’m down or at the top. I am so in love with the people I’ve surrounded myself with.

6) I’ve accomplished everything my 20-something self set out to achieve. Wow, that’s an emotional thing to type. When I was in my 20s, I wanted many things: to have a happy marriage, to have kids, to complete my PhD, to travel the world presenting my research, to own a business, and to write a book. Those things felt overly aspirational and way too far out of reach. But here I am doing the damn thing. There is still so much I want to accomplish. New dreams come to mind every day. For now, though, I’m going to celebrate checking all those things off my list.

Are you making sure to celebrate yourself? I feel like, especially as women, we are discouraged from being proud of our accomplishments. We’re told we’re being boastful and arrogant. We’re told it’s better to be humble. I want you to know that you were not put on this earth to be humble. And, by the way, you can be proud of your achievements without having a prideful heart. Being proud and being prideful are not the same. It is not bragging to share your successes with the world. It is not boastful to celebrate yourself.

Make time today to celebrate what you’ve done. You deserve it.

Amber Wardell is a doctor of psychology and author who speaks on women’s issues related to marriage, motherhood, and mental health. Subscribe to the free newsletter to get exclusive content delivered to your inbox and to never miss an upload.


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