Editor’s note: Give yourself more credit


Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been heavily reflecting on how far I’ve come as a person, especially within the last four years of my life.

I’m finding myself to be astounded by the simple things that I can now do with ease that I would’ve struggled with before. For example, where 17-year-old-me may have floundered when it came to doing something as simple as making a phone call, I can now do it with ease and comfort. 

At the same time, though, I’ve been feeling as though I haven’t accomplished nearly enough for my age. 

One thing I struggle with—and I’m sure many can relate—is giving myself enough credit for the things I’ve accomplished rather than writing them off as a fluke. 

Oftentimes, I find myself trying to undermine the things that I do accomplish, while also beating myself up for the things that I have yet to complete. 

This happens to me on both a small scale, such as feeling as though I haven’t done enough in my eight-hour work day—even after completing countless projects and tasks—and on a large scale, where I feel as though nothing I’ve done or am working towards doing is worth celebrating. 

Some people may be able to relate to finding it easy to celebrate the wins of your family and friends, but tending to fall into a cycle of diminishing your own wins. 

Part of this may stem from the feeling of inadequacy when you compare yourself to your colleagues and friends. 

I’m coming to recognize that I can’t compare myself to others because I’m a different person entirely, even if the person I’m comparing myself to is close in age to me, in the same field as me, or whatever it is that I feel like dwelling on in the moment. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always looking at myself and my accomplishments so cynically and I’m sure others aren’t either, but it’s an easy pattern to fall into. 

I’m not on the same timeline as anyone else and I do myself a disservice by treating myself as though I am, but this mindset comes so naturally to me and it’s something that I’m realizing that I need to work on more.

You also can’t realistically expect people to celebrate your wins when you won’t even do it yourself. If you’re not even on your own team, why should anyone else be? 

This isn’t a simple transition to make by any means, but I know that if I can recognize someone else’s achievements, then I can and should recognize those same things in myself.  It pays to be your own cheerleader.

Conversely, it’s also worth acknowledging that the people you compare yourself to may recognize something in you that you don’t recognize, and may also be comparing themselves to you. Obviously, this isn’t anything worth striving for, but it goes to show that perhaps it’s human nature to compare yourselves to others.

In terms of solutions in overcoming this debilitating mindset, a good reminder is to focus on what you are doing right, not on what you did wrong or could be doing better.

If you’re like me and often don’t give yourself credit, it’s worth remembering that the voice of the internal critic is loud but not everyone is capable of doing the things you do. That’s something worth recognizing, even when you feel inadequate.

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