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Have you congratulated yourself recently?

Last week I had two very stressful things to do that I had anticipated with quite a bit of anxiety. I made it to the first one and found myself thinking more along the lines of, “I can’t believe I have to do this.” Later in the week, when I made it to the second one (a very long and unpleasant dental procedure), I found myself thinking, “Congratulations on getting here!” My tendency would have been to put the appointment off as long as I possibly could have. Hello, avoidance and procrastination. Instead of pushing it to the side, I trusted that I would be able to make it through. I spent a lot of time focusing on how relieved I would feel afterwards knowing it was done. 

As I was sitting in the chair deep breathing, staying present, and acknowledging the high level of discomfort, I congratulated myself. Several times, in fact. It takes a lot more work to get the positive and encouraging messages to “stick” than it does the negative ones. As Rick Hanson, Ph.D. says, positive messages slide off our brains like Teflon, and negative messages stick like Velcro. I’m still reflecting on last Friday morning and congratulating myself. I want to remind my brain how I took the uncomfortable steps and made it through by facing and not avoiding it. 

Now I want to congratulate you, because I know you’ve done something hard this week. Probably more than one thing. It may have taken you a lot of work just to get there, so well done!

I invite you to pause a couple of times this week and consider:

  • What is something you can congratulate yourself for?

  • How does it make you feel when you do that?



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