Military Life

Don’t Be Afraid to Celebrate Yourself

This summer I unexpectedly was hired for my dream job. Something I have worked very hard to achieve.

It is a dream that, on my bad days, reminded me why I had joined the Navy and what my end goal was. It was something I kept thinking about doing as I took college class after college class that frustrated me and made me spend stupid amounts of money on textbooks that were hardly used. This dream job, being a middle school teacher, did not just fall into my lap. I proved myself in different positions at the school over the years and created a network of teachers that were excited to throw my name in the mix when the opportunity came up.

While I certainly put in the work to earn this job, it did come a few months before I expected to even start looking and for some reason that made me feel guilty.

It made me want to shy away from telling a fellow graduate student that I wouldn’t be student teaching this fall but instead had been hired.

It made me feel like my success needed to be hidden because friends were not moving along at the same time as I was. How awful is that type of thinking? I don’t deserve to celebrate what I have earned because someone else isn’t there too?

I can’t be the only one that does that. I am sure I am not the only person who works hard for things but then is afraid to celebrate them for fear of looking like I am bragging. And heaven only knows where this guilt complex comes from. Certainly not from my friends’ reactions to things!

When my husband and I bought our first house this year our entire softball team showed up and stayed for almost 10 hours not only to move us, but also unpack and they even started hanging curtains and broke down every box we unpacked! By the time everyone left it looked like we lived in the house a year, not a day! My friends were not judging us for buying a house, there were celebrating it.

And when I found out I got the job it was the same way. I had friends genuinely excited for me. One sent school supply money so I could prepare my classrooms for the students I knew wouldn’t have enough to get supplies on their own. Another called and asked if they needed to come help me move desks around and get the classroom set up because I had so little notice that I was going to be teaching.

Even the friend who is student teaching this term alone since I am now working was happy for me! She understands what it takes to achieve a goal like this and how wonderful it is to put your own name on a classroom door.

So why do we do this? What is it about our personalities that makes it hard to celebrate when we achieve good things? I’m working on that this year. I’m trying to change my thinking, just like I tell me students to do.

There is nothing wrong with succeeding. Success, whatever way you measure it, is a good thing. It is something to be celebrated and to enjoy!

So it is time to stop feeling guilty for going after things you want and getting them. Instead, start being proud of how brave you were to try and how wonderful it feels when something you have worked for, something you have dreamed of, finally happens. Because you deserve to be happy about it! You earned it!

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