I’ve been having some fascinating conversations with clients this week about humility and self-acknowledgement.

What Grandpa taught me

It’s so common that we really value being humble and avoiding being one of those icky egotistical people, right? I grew up on a farm here in Colorado across the cornfield from my Grandpa Dale. Grandpa was one of the last of several generations of farmers who had worked the same plot of land in my family. For those of you who don’t know anything about working farm life, it’s a pretty humble existence. There’s nothing like shoveling cow manure to keep it real.

Grandpa taught me when I was a kid, “You don’t want to get too big for your britches, soccer.” “Soccer” was his nickname for me. He was trying to teach me to avoid being that kind of boastful person.

However, very often, we tend to take that too far. In our attempt to embody humility, we actually end up avoiding acknowledging ourselves. Acknowledging ourselves is not the same thing as being braggadocios. These are two different things.

The power of acknowledgement

I remember one year when I was a young adult and I had so many grown-ups on my back questioning me, coming down on me, and really causing me to start to question myself underneath all of that pressure. Grandpa Dale pulled me aside one day out of the blue when I wasn’t expecting it at all. He had caught on to what was going on. He pulled me aside just to acknowledge me and remind me how awesome he thought I was and how proud he was of me.

He knew that I needed that acknowledgement and that I needed it during that difficult point in my life. In that moment, I felt so seen. I felt like he was the one adult that saw me for who I actually was when some of the other grown-ups really weren’t getting me. He also understood the importance of acknowledgement.

What happens when we pause to acknowledge ourselves?

When we pause to honor and recognize ourselves, it might be for something we’ve done, something we’ve accomplished, or maybe it’s just the way that we’re operating in the world, the values that we’re bringing to our communities that we’re proud of. That acknowledgement allows us to tap into this pool of contentment, appreciation, and of feeling those little pockets in our lives where we are in integrity with ourselves. Where we’ve actually become the grown-ups that we said we wanted to become.

Self-acknowledgement doesn’t feed the ego, it’s not about that. It allows us to ease up on ourselves because even though we might be focused on the things we want to accomplish this year or how we want to be better next year, when we pause to acknowledge ourselves, we just get to be present and enjoy who we already are.

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