Can we all agree that we grew up (and are living) in a world that teaches us to automatically look for the things we’re doing wrong? The things that are wrong? Whether you’re turning on the news or checking your email or talking to the person next to you in the grocery store line, negativity is typically what seems to take precedence over anything else… right?
From headlines to deadlines and everything in between, it can be a lot to handle — and, more importantly, it can be really easy to sink into as an entrepreneur and a creative, too. See, even when you love what you do and are proud of yourself, it’s simply easier to default to the negative emotion. The “I’m not doing enough,” the “this could have been better,” the “she’s further along than me,” the “I missed the mark.”
And, guess what? That, my friends, is something that we simply have to stop doing.
Enter: my very favorite self-care practice… and one that I do every single day, without fail, even when I don’t want to.
It’s called bragging.
Okay, let’s rewind…
I lived so much of my life focused on the things that I or the world perceived to be missing (money, jobs, relationships, etc.) that I’ve been programmed to make myself wrong before I ever give myself the grace to be right. From the days I was just a child striving to do everything right all the way to the days I started navigating entrepreneurship and parenthood, I’ve looked for the lack… for those things that are missing.
I’ve constantly told myself that, even when I’m incredibly proud of myself, that there’s some undercurrent of “I should have done that earlier” or “I missed the mark on that.” I spent years having an incredibly difficult time celebrating myself, and I spent even more years than that refusing to celebrate myself, too.
It took a big toll on me — and if you’re like me or a lot of my fellow entrepreneurs and students, it’s taken a big toll on you, too… even if you don’t realize it.
But, here’s the thing: our subconscious is the smartest thing about us, and it’s tuned in to each detail of our day. And, even though our subconscious is brilliant, we can trick it by constantly telling it that we are living the most beautiful, magical, wonderful lives in existence.
Where bragging fits into your daily self-care
I’d imagine that, even reading this, you’re feeling quite a bit of resistance around the word bragging — right? Most of us grew up in that pattern of lack and negativity by being told that bragging was selfish and that it was a practice we shouldn’t make a habit of.
But, I’ve gotta tell you… bragging isn’t selfish. In fact, it will, quite literally, change your life. And, of course, I don’t mean bragging to the world that your life is better than yours. I just mean bragging to yourself that your life is so much better than you could ever have imagined.
I mean bragging that you woke up and the sun was twinkling outside of your window.
I mean bragging that you managed to pick the absolute perfect playlist to work to today.
I mean bragging that you booked your biggest client yet.
I mean bragging that you feel good about yourself today.
I mean bragging that you don’t feel so good about yourself today, but that you showed up anyways.
I mean that, every single day — without fail — you speak out loud the things you can brag about, and that you stop making your life and your story and your experiences wrong. That you celebrate them.
So, here’s your bragging challenge…
For the next 30 days, I want you to vocalize the things you’re proud of, grateful of, and happy about — and I want you to brag about them. Even when you don’t want to, even when you’re exhausted, and even when you don’t feel particularly proud or grateful or happy, I want you to brag.
(Psst… when 30 days passes, you won’t want to stop.)
This is something I’ve been doing a lot on Voxer with my business besties, and it’s been so incredibly freeing to let people witness me in these moments of wild gratitude and thankfulness… even for the tiniest things, and even when I don’t want to speak them out loud at all. If you’re not comfortable bragging out loud to someone else (though I’d challenge you to ask yourself why), that’s okay! Voice note your brags, journal them, or simply meditate through them on a morning walk.
This intentional bragging breaks you out of the cycle of constantly noticing the negative. Bragging — out loud — shocks you out of the hyperawareness you’re likely feeling of all the things you’ve done “wrong,” and triggers you to jump straight into gratitude instead. And, here’s a reminder: these do not have to be huge, big, massive brags, either. There are some days where I brag that I didn’t work out today, and I was okay with it; that I got to snuggle with my 2 year-old at 3:00 AM; that the Japanese maple outside of my window is rustling in the wind; that I raised my rates and stuck to them, that I’m simply alive.
Because, my friend, that simple act of being alive is worth so much more than we give it credit for. It deserves a brag.
So brag that you’re alive today. And then brag tomorrow, too.