Lots of mental health issues stem from a sense of worthlessness. When you have anxiety or depression that makes it hard to do even the smallest things – it’s hard to remember that you’re awesome. There are different ways to define your self-worth, and so often we wrap those definitions around “normal” accomplishments.
Like having a successful career, losing weight, buying a house by a certain age, a wonderful marriage, or having a life that’s Instagram-perfect. That’s what we’ve been taught success looks like. All of those things are wonderful accomplishments but they aren’t the only accomplishments.
Now let’s say that you don’t have any of those things. It’s so easy to fall into a shame/guilt spiral. Feeling like you can’t do things right. Like you might never be any sort of version of successful.
The problem with all of this is that most of us don’t know how to value our achievements. Usually, we compare ourselves to others – and we tend to choose the most successful people around! So, it’s easy to feel like a failure when really you’re doing perfectly fine.
That’s why this post will look at some key considerations when valuing your personal accomplishments. Hopefully, it lets you view your situation with more context, making you realize things why you might not be traditionally awesome, you’re still you-awesome. Which is even better.
Set your own definitions
How do you define success? What can be considered a big accomplishment? It’s almost impossible to settle on a definition that fits everyone. I guess the closest is achieving something that makes you feel proud or that has a big impact on your life.
This can be completely different depending on you and your life. For one person, earning a lot of money is seen as a huge achievement. For you, raising money for charity may be something that means a lot. Or, learning a language, running a marathon, achieving a good credit score, dealing with something that has always caused you anxiety – you see, it can be anything!
Don’t define and value your personal accomplishments based on what other people deem valuable. Do it based on what you think is most valuable to your life.
Take your age into account
How old are you? If you’re in your twenties, then it’s unreasonable to assume you should’ve achieved loads of things in your professional life.
Most people don’t retire until they’re in their late sixties – you have loads of time to still reach your professional goals. Likewise, think about what you’ve achieved for someone your age – have you been to university? Have you graduated from high school? Did you pull yourself out of a bad period of mental health? Did you simply survive in spite of life circumstances that could have broken you?
These are both big achievements that you should be proud of. I think the big point here is to stop viewing your accomplishments as though you’re looking at an entire lifetime. Be realistic, based on how old you are!
Think about how long you’ve been doing something for
On a similar note, time is a massive thing to consider when defining your achievements. Let’s look at a very common example of someone valuing their life. You’re in your thirties, you decided to start a business when you were 25, but things haven’t gone as planned. You expected to be in a much better position than you are. It’s easy to look at this and assume you failed your goals and have failed in life. In reality, it takes people an average of 10 years to learn how to succeed and to see results.
So, after five years, you’re only halfway there! Recognize that time is a key factor and your success and achievements could be around the corner.
Stop focusing on what you haven’t done
Easily the worst thing to do is look at what you haven’t done. It’s so easy to look at your life and think: oh I haven’t done this, I haven’t done that, and so on. Nobody achieves everything, even the most successful people in the world have some regrets. If you focus on all the things you haven’t achieved, it does two bad things for your mental health.
Firstly, it makes you feel bad about yourself because you haven’t ticked everything off your list. Secondly, it devalues everything you have achieved!
Even if you’ve accomplished lots of things, you’re stuck on what you didn’t do. It makes you feel like those achievements are less than what they really are, leading to more negative thoughts. So, don’t look at what you haven’t done, only look at what you have accomplished!
Set future targets and goals
Strive to continue on your personal journey by setting future targets and goals. Make a list of the things you’ve accomplished so far and then make a list of the next step. This gives you things to aim towards in the next few months and years. It’s particularly useful during 2020, where everything feels so chaotic and it’s hard to feel like we’re truly accomplishing anything. Setting some new life goals gives you a sense of direction and can bring more structure to your life. Every day, you are working towards a new goal – it makes you feel so much better about yourself. You’re proud of what you’re trying to achieve!
Furthermore, this makes it easier when you look back and value your accomplishments later in life. You can look at the goals you set and see if you achieved them.
My biggest goal: Managing my mental health.
It has nothing to do with competing with anyone else. It’s something I do for me. It’s something that makes my life infinitely better, and that’s the most important part.
Important personal accomplishments:
-Working through a bad mental health day
-Doing something that scares you
-Being there for a friend when they need you
-Supporting a cause that’s important to you
-Handling a tough situation in a healthy way
-Giving your gifts to the world around you
-Making a difference
-Setting good boundaries
-Sticking up for someone else
-Learning healthy coping skills
-Overcoming a life struggle