Why is it so much easier to talk about your weaknesses than to take pride in your strengths?
I recently finished Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Happier At Home (here’s my review and giveaway, go enter!). I loved the book for all sorts of reasons. But one reason has to do less with the content, and more with something personal about Gretchen: she appreciates her own strengths and says so, out loud.
Oh, she’s aware of and honest about her weaknesses. But she doesn’t let them drown out her talents and accomplishments. It’s so refreshing to read a personal account that balances self-depricating “this is me messing up” with “I did this well and I’m so happy about it.”
Take Gretchen’s recent Happiness Project post about Happier At Home. She’s written a new book and it’s good. And she loves it. And she’s telling us so! She isn’t bragging or fishing for compliments — she’s sharing her pride and delight, and it’s infectious. I feel like cheering right alongside her.
When I hear a story about someone doing something well, getting to share in their excitement about it is part of the pleasure. It also gives me permission to feel a little bit prouder of my own accomplishments. And, perhaps, a bit bolder about saying so.
Okay, so it’s not easy. I’m more comfortable talking about other people’s triumphs. That’s one of my favorite things about Parent Hacks…I get to sprinkle recognition and YAY YOU! fairy dust over other parents’ breakthroughs, no matter how small. But my breakthroughs? I’m okay with sharing them as long as I give my weaknesses and rough spots plenty of airtime.
But today I’d like to follow Gretchen’s example. I’d like to share with you a few things about which I’m unabashedly proud. You already know about most of them, but it feels good to say them out loud.
- I’m giving a talk at a conference this weekend.
- I can talk to my kids about sex without stammering or blushing.
- I just wrote a damn fine book.
- I ran this morning.
- I celebrated my 19th wedding anniversary last month.
- I’m a good listener.
- I’m traveling to Ethiopia in less than two weeks with people I admire.
- I’m about to become the mother of a teenager.
So: what are you good at? What are you proud of? I want to hear about it, and cheer together.
Asha Dornfest is the co-author of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More By Doing Less and the publisher of Parent Hacks, a site crammed with tips for making family life easier.