Posts Tagged ‘minimizing accomplishments’

Today I achieved a great feat! I passed the National Counselor Exam to become a licensed professional counselor in the state of Ohio. And I truly am proud of myself.

However, it wasn’t an immediate pride. Why not, you ask? Well because on my score sheet I noticed I had scored “just” eight points above the required passing score and I thought, “I only got 99 right. I just barely passed.” I had briefly disregarded the fact that I did indeed pass and that is what is most important. After all, test taking is not one of my strengths. As I skimmed the breakdown of scores, I felt OK, but had to force the “You could have done betters” out of my head. Actually, I changed those thoughts altogether and reminded myself that I had studied hard and I knew much of the material and I PASSED!!! Period.

Stating “only” or “just” in relation to accomplishments in life will lead to higher irrational expectations, feelings of self-defeat and will add to what may already be a low self-esteem. Examples: “I only got one touchdown.” “I got a bonus, but just for writing one report really well.” “I only won one Associated Press award and it was just for my blog.”

On my drive home from my test today I remembered that when I texted my fiance about the test, I used, or at least thought of using, one of those two terms: “only” or “just.” Doing so could have caused him to see the accomplishment as minimal instead of as the big deal it was/is. And I probably would have brushed it under the rug as if it was just another day.

I think our society permits people to brag endlessly about their expensive accomplishments, while the more important accomplishments are expected to be pushed aside. “Talk to us when you have accomplished something big, like buying a brand new luxury car.” Hmmm, while it took awhile for me to realize this, I do believe a luxury car will not fit in my casket when I pass away. I would rather die knowing I worked hard to achieve goals that were priceless, rather than goals that could be measured monetarily. We are often forced to cover up the accomplishment that isn’t “the best,” doesn’t have the priciest physical reward, or that is universal, meaning achieved by many. And for what? To keep people wandering around this world with low self-esteem, shattered dreams, and a hopelessness that lands them in therapy?

I don’t care whether one million people say congratulations for my accomplishment or one million people agree that I barely passed and scoff thinking I can’t possibly be a good counselor…I achieved a milestone not only in my professional life, but in my personal life as well. And for what? For the purpose of sharing my knowledge and experience with others who may need that temporary guide on life’s journey. I am proud of myself and I will allow myself to say “I passed” without tossing in the “only” or the “just.” The fact remains regardless of how many points above the minimum I received.

Do you find yourself minimizing your accomplishments either due to personal expectations or the expectations of others? Or, are you able to pat yourself on the back and be proud of that which you have been able to do well? I hope the answers to those questions are “no” and “yes” respectively.


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