Yesterday was my 25th birthday! (Live for a quarter of a century…check.)
Trust me when I tell you I absolutely do not take that for granted. I have lost friends at a much younger age and with what you see in the news daily there are many stories that are cut short before they can experience many of life’s milestones. This can, and probably will, be a future topic but I came across something that really made me think on that so let’s sit down and share.
Don’t Stop Until You’re Proud.
I read that on a sign as I was browsing for something to spend my birthday gift card on.
It doesn’t say “Don’t Stop Until You’re Skinny” or “Don’t Stop Until You’re A Millionaire.”
Not until others are proud or satisfied. Not until you get made fun of or turned down. Not until you’re bored or unmotivated; but proud.
I’ve often thought about those friends I mentioned above and the legacies they left. The way we speak about them when we’re together or when their families are remembering them. What would I want to leave with?
Among other things, knowing that I made my family proud. I will measure success in all areas of my life and I will be proud of myself if my family is also proud of me.
My parents, who experienced their own hardships, worked hard to ensure my sisters and I had every opportunity available to us.
Even the ones we didn’t think we wanted. Have you ever washed a ‘dirty’ sheep with your bare hands?
Not only that but they encouraged us to go for every single one of those opportunities.
They taught us to work hard and then work even harder and they encouraged us to play.
They taught us to be a good friend and person then be even better.
They were the biggest supporters, strongest believers and loudest fans.
And when we lost the game, when we didn’t make the team, when we didn’t get that award…they told us every good thing we did, they were proud of us and that we’ll get it next time.
Fast-forward to yesterday opening my cards from them. They wrote several sweet comments but the best were the ones that said I made them proud. That’s important because it’s so easy to feel like you’re failing especially when you have set these high expectations for yourself.
At this stage of my life some of my top expectations are to throw myself into an extremely successful career, work on a healthy diet and strong physique and be the ideal person to talk to in each relationship.
And I have failed at every single one. All three in the last month, to be exact.
But it’s also never been better to learn from and fix those ‘failures’ and make them something to be proud of (anyone else just sing Montgomery Gentry while reading that?). These are just things that happen in life and, great, you’ve experienced that now. NOTHING is the end of the world.
Being proud of yourself can be taken poorly if you’re arrogant and unwilling to humble yourself; true. Being proud of yourself is understanding that you respect yourself enough to feel good and worthy even in the face of something that makes you feel bad and less than. Every time we lost, we had to hear or see why. Understand it. Accept it. Go on.
You will get nowhere if you keep telling yourself that you won’t or can’t. If you don’t have someone telling you ‘I’m proud of you’ then here you go…I am proud of you. I mean that.
I’m proud that you can lose your job and go find something else that will use your talents, talents I might not have, to help people like me and provide for your life.
I’m proud that even if you didn’t go to the gym five times this week, you got there once and you’re taking advantage of your capable body while you still can.
I’m proud that even though you pissed off your sister or were a jerk to your spouse that you took a breather and came back saying ‘I’m sorry, I love you, I’m on your team.’
Don’t just go until I’m proud though; don’t stop until you’re proud.
PS: Thank you to every person who has reached out and to every business who has come my way! If you know someone I can help please let me know.
PPS: My sister is currently studying for her Masters at K-State. She is hosting counseling sessions at no cost for children and adults on a variety of topics including self-respect and leadership. If you would like to schedule a session with her, here is her information: