How does one learn to celebrate the small victories?

I've been raised by very strict parents who would only congratulate me when I would excel in my activities.

When I was in school, I'd get a pat on the back only for top scores. Anything else meant I was just doing my job and I could be better.

Ballet class? We liked your part but you should have been smiling more, it didn't look natural.

My art? That wouldn't even get a “This is nice”, as it was just for fun.

To be honest though, I don't think it's just the strict upbringing that made me a perfectionist, who is afraid to make mistakes in front of others and who doesn't celebrate anything that isn't perfect. (And nothing ever is!)

All I know is that this is slowing down my progress in anything, as you can't learn without making mistakes, and it's preventing me from finding joy in any of the activities I am a part of, unless I excel even when I am not supposed to. It is always a: “I am just jogging, I am not really a runner, yeah, I did run a 10K, but my time is really slow”. And never a: “I was tired but I did complete my run today!”.

This attitude is causing me to be burned out at work too: there is a big workload and I only settle with completing all tasks on time and perfectly. And when one task is complete, no matter how difficult it was, I just forget about it because I still have to do X more.

I want to learn to be able to celebrate the small wins, to love the product of my work because I love the process, to laugh about my mistake because I understand they are part of the learning process.

As I was writing this entry, I remembered I did write this other post two years ago about the exact same subject. Doesn't look like I made a lot of progress, uh?

I think it's because whenever I pin my art to a wall, write a blog post, create something, even if I try to tell myself it's good I enjoyed the process and the result isn't bad, I don't believe it at all.

Thank you for listening...


~ Melyanna