Why do we beat ourselves up rather than celebrate?

About a month ago, this was me.  Sitting at my kitchen counter, with a half-drunk cup of cold coffee and spilling tears all over my laptop. I finally curled up in my husband’s lap and lamented “I can’t do it.  I will never be able to do it.  And I can’t afford to pay someone to do it for me.” Then tears and more tears. Frustrated tears.

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A month later, I have come so far. I can now log into Square Space (my website host) without my heart rate speeding up to unhealthy highs. Without sweaty palms and tears stinging the back of my eyeballs. Although I will never win awards for my photos, I can actually take a product photo that is somewhat decent and not completely embarrassing. No one will EVER hire me as their Social Media Director but I now have 73 whole Instagram followers, thank you very much.

However….

The much dreaded however word. There is still so much to learn.  There is still so far to go.  Six weeks ago, I began my own company. And I am very excited. I can’t wait to begin painting over the very bright yellow exterior and dingy white interior. I am excited to partner with local artists and fill our chippy painted shelves with unique re-purposed and handcrafted items. I can’t wait to create a feeling, an atmosphere that is so enticing, our customers can’t wait to come back. I am good at that.

But do you know what I am not good at? Everything else.  I don’t social media. I literally just asked one of my twin daughters, “What exactly is Facebook and what is its purpose?” I don’t design websites (hence the tears mentioned earlier). I don’t take photos. My only camera is the one I also use to text. I don’t know how to use Pinterest, other than browsing and admiring the creative wonderfulness of others. If it involves a laptop and talk of “the cloud” WHAT?  What in holy buckets, is THE CLOUD?  It seems to be a revered entity, as I have noticed when it’s talked about voices get quieter and serious-er and reverent. 

Yesterday I was feeling discouraged because although I have learned so much and come so far, it’s still not good. Ya know? How do you launch an Instagram Contest?  What even is one? How do I keep my FB followers updated on our new store when I only have 4 followers? My mom, 2 daughters and one son-in-law. I have 5 daughters, so what does that tell you? Besides, can’t I just tell them?  How do I add an enticing Opt-in Button on my website when I just barely learned how to log in and upload an image? And don’t even get me started on images.  Everything I read reiterates the importance of good images.  We live in a visual world.  We make quick, 3-second decisions based on what our eyes tell us. My sub-par images speak of, well, they speak of “you should have hired a photographer”.

In my discouragement, I posed this question to my husband; “Is it a bad thing that all I do is keep researching and editing and learning and striving to be better rather than celebrating how far I have come?  Where is the balance?”

My wise husband’s answer; “As long as your discontent helps you want to keep improving and moving forward rather than just making you feel bad about yourself, it’s ok.”

Ah, wisdom. You gotta love it. And that is just so good. Come on-if you are anything like me, chances are you are your own worst enemy. Why do we beat ourselves up rather than celebrate?  Why do we compare to others instead of comparing to our own journey of growth? Why am I worried about an Instagram contest instead of celebrating that I am now the proud owner of my very own Instagram account? 73 followers and all. Oh, 72. Someone just “unfollowed” me, I guess? Is that a thing?

What is it that you need to celebrate? Sure, yes by all means available to you, move forward, grow, learn and research.  I am a big fan. But let’s be good to ourselves. Let’s pat ourselves on the back now and then. Let’s stop and celebrate…me. You.

You. Yes, you.  I am talking to you.