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Give Yourself Some Credit!

“Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.” ~Unknown

After pitching an idea to an international online magazine a month ago, I recently sent the article to the editor. I was quite nervous. It had taken me more than a month. Every time I sat down to write, I didn’t know how to begin.

I typed and then deleted my paragraphs. I typed again, and then deleted the whole document. I wasn’t happy with what I had written.

Eventually, I said to myself, I had to submit something because it had taken too long. So in the flurry of two hours, I hammered out the article, sent it to a friend for comments, and went about perfecting it.

I revised my writing, taking a few of my friend’s suggestions, but still I wasn’t completely satisfied with what I had produced. Yet, I didn’t know how else I would improve it anymore. By then, I was tired of reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading, so I sent it off.

For three days I waited gingerly by my computer, causing myself needless anxiety over whether or not the article would be accepted.

This was crucial for me as I was taking the first step in testing the market to see if it was receptive to my thoughts, and perhaps a book about the experiences of a Generation Y female executive overcoming depression.

Plus, the website was authoritative in its own right and it would give me some exposure and signs as to whether my direction was in on track.

I was more than ecstatic that the editor came back and said they had already published the post and gave me a link to it.

You might think I felt proud of myself for this achievement.

Quite the contrary.

Instead of giving myself a pat on the back, I started to find flaws and beat myself: there were only a few hundred views compared to other articles on the site with more than a hundred thousand, no one commented, the writing was too brisk and elementary, it was a boring topic….

As if this was not enough, I berated myself for not having made much writing progress: I still had to work on a book proposal, I had not updated my blog for a week, I owed a few people guest posts, and I had readers’ emails from weeks ago I hadn’t replied to…..

While everyone else congratulated me for achieving a milestone in my writing, I found every opportunity to criticize myself. I brushed off the compliments with a shrug, embarrassed that I had not done better, or sent in the article earlier, or created more viral impact for the website.

I kept discounting myself in my conversation with friends, until one of them could hold it no longer and scolded me.

“Woman! Give yourself some credit!” she exclaimed exasperatingly.

Finally I realized I’d focused on what I had not done, instead of what I had achieved.

In this skewed perception of my accomplishments, I discounted my efforts and belittled anything I had done. As a consequence, I shaved away my self-confidence by ruminating on my shortcomings, unable to trust in my own abilities.

But my work was not without merit, even though I was only taking baby steps toward the path I want to take. In fact, the number of views kept climbing, and readers commented, visited my own blog, wrote me emails sharing their experience, and cheered me on for my writing.

Why had I heaped so much unfounded judgment on myself? Why do any of us do this?

Why do we concentrate on the long journey ahead instead of recognizing how far we’ve come in our efforts? They form the building blocks of our future endeavors—if, that is, we learn to trust in ourselves.

We need a positive mindset to motivate ourselves to keep going.

Now, instead of reprimanding myself at the end of the day for having left 10 emails unsent, I give myself a pat on the back for having worked through fifty email responses, read a few pages of a book, spent some quality time with fiancé, baked some brownies, and simply enjoyed my day.

Recognizing what we’re doing right doesn’t mean we become complacent and stop striving for improvement. It just means we’ve learned one of the most important things we can do for our happiness and success. And that is:

Give yourself some credit!


Note: If you didn’t yesterday, enter the book giveaway for Hike Your Own Hike by leaving a comment on this interview with Francis Tapon!

Photo by Craig Myron Photography

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About Noch Noch

Noch Noch traveled the world as an international executive for seven years. After an episode of stress-related major depression and other illnesses two years ago, she is redefining her priorities. She is now on a quest for clarity and self-awareness, jotting down her reflections at "Be Me. Be Natural."

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • http://journeyofasoulsearcher.blogspot.com/ Madison Sonnier

    I love this! I usually tend to do the exact same thing before submitting an article or guest post. I am a huge perfectionist and I’m constantly reading, re-reading, writing, and re-writing my work. 

    In fact, I did this before submitting my very first post to Tiny Buddha. I convinced myself that it sucked and that it was going to get rejected, only to have it accepted the very next day—not to mention it got amazing feedback.

    We all need to be reminded to give ourselves some credit every now and then. It’s important to pat ourselves on the back for what we have accomplished instead of beating ourselves up over what we HAVEN’T accomplished. :)

    ~ Madison 

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  • Roo

    I am in the same situation and rather than feeling happy about my recent successes I’ve found myself depressed and comparing myself to others who seem to be progressing faster or said something in a better way than I did.  I started to doubt my own abilities.  Basically had the same experience you describe.  Thank you for your great article and for letting me know I am not alone.  Yay me for having an article published that helped many people. I am going to focus on the joy in the ride, stick my head out the window and love the breeze on my face- hope I don’t get there too fast, then this awesome ride will be over.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1024056643 Alicia Friedman

    I needed this — thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/GeorgePirintzi George Pirintzi

    On one level there is no right or wrong, or good or bad it’s just thinking that makes it so.

    Our ‘inner voice’ is our own worst enemy so we need to learn to separate ourselves from it and realize that ‘we’ don’t necessarily always have to agree with everything ‘we’ think.

  • Pauldpritchard

    Great post, do you have a link to the article you mentioned?

  • http://www.existation.com/ Rachel

    This is so great. I need this every day of my life.

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

    Hi Roo

    Great imagery – stick my head out the window and enjoy the ride :) I will do that too. It’s a bit weird for me to celebrate my success. I’m always worried I come across as conceited or arrogant. But I think it’s worth to be proud of ourselves and know what we are doing are good, if only for ourselves!

    Noch Noch

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

    HI Madison!!

    Yup – totally get you. I think we all go overboard with criticizing ourselves. But actually we’ve already done a good job. Congrats on the Tiny Buddha article too!!!
    Noch Noch

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

    Rachel – yes please do give yourself some credit for your efforts :)

    Take careNoch Noch

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

    HI Pauldpritchard

    Thanks!!! Yup – the article is here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/85broads/2012/01/04/against-all-stereotypes-stress-depression-recovery-and-then/

    I’ve since then been accepted to publish another post on the same site (http://www.forbes.com/sites/85broads/2012/03/12/seven-secrets-to-success-as-an-expat-executive/) and also South China Morning Post did a rerun of my original article. So I am quite happy about it. 

    One step at a time

    Noch Noch

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

    p.s would be great to know what you think of my writing there :)
    Noch Noch

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

    HI George

    I agree! I’m my own worst enemy most of the time. and definitely my thinking that classifies good or bad… when there actually isn’t any good or bad 

    Thanks for the insight
    Noch Noch

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

    Thanks Alicia – hope you are doing well
    Noch Noch :)

  • Durgesh Ddn

    Have Faith in you!….

  • http://lifeupblog.wordpress.com/ Art Pt30

    I can totally relate to this! The self doubt just consumes you! Love the read!

  • Deborah

    Words ringing true in my ears….shoot.  Some days, just a trip to the shower, fresh clothes on, and hint of lipstick & a smile is cause for a celebratory “pat-on-the-back”!  LOL!  <3  Gracias!

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

    Hi Art Pt30

    Thanks :)Self doubt indeed is evil…

    Noch Noch

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

    Hi Durgesh
    will work towards that!!!:)
    Noch Noch

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch

    Hi Deborah

    Oh yah totally!!! I like that, shower and fresh clothes on :)
    I put some lipstick on just now for you!Noch Noch

  • Kleine

    Thank you for this post. I’ve always been the “glass-half full” kinda girl that’s a realistic optimist, but with my postgrad coming to an end and other students are getting picked up for internships and I’m still polishing my portfolio, I can’t help but envy how quickly they’re progressing. This post reminds me to look at how far I’ve come since I started my journey towards my dream career of becoming an awesome copywriter. And as long as I keep going and pushing for my dream, it’ll become a reality.

  • Maladroitus

    Try being 62 and still a self-described failure, too afraid to commit old-farticide and to painful to keep going. A cautionary tale in a bottle to whoever or whatever happens by.