Learning How to Handle Success Gracefully

March 29, 2011

I will just say it: more often than not, success makes me want to curl up in a ball underneath my bed and hide.

Why is it that you can work so very hard for something, but then possess an inability to receive positive feedback?

What is it about success that makes us so uncomfortable?

I have always had a difficult time with the best case scenario. Rug pulled out from under me, everything crumbling at my feet, feeling like I’m the biggest loser in the world – easy as pie. But accepting accolades and having people telling me I’m amazing? I had a difficult time even WRITING that last bit.

Desperately seeking inspiration Project 365 Day 358

image by Keith Williamson

This sort of chronic insecurity is something that I have come a really long way in repairing, but appropriately managing success is just one of those things that still gets me. It gets the VOICE talking. (A special thank you to KCLAnderson for reminding me that it is in face the VOICE and not my voice that I’m hearing.) You know the VOICE? The one that tells you not to get comfortable. The one that just knows you don’t deserve any of the praise you are receiving? The one that quietly whispers worthless, stupid, no good in the back of your mind, like radio static quietly stunting your ability to think of anything else over time, and leaving you with your shoulders scrunched up and rubbing the migraine out of your temples?

The VOICE tells me I don’t deserve any of you.

The VOICE tells me that someday you are all going to realize how stupid I really am and run as fast as you can for a blog with a competent author.

The VOICE tells me I am unworthy.

Luckily for all of us, no matter how consuming it can be – the VOICE can be ignored. Instead of spending my day lying on the floor of my bathroom whining to my twitterfeed about how awful my life is and pleasepleaseplease LOVE ME LOVE ME LOVE ME, I can stand up and decide to tell that VOICE to put a sock in it and go on about my day feeling like the most fabulous thing since sliced bread.

I can do that. I can give it a good solid smackdown, and remind it calmly that I love myself exactly as I am thank you very much, and you aren’t welcome here anymore.

But it takes practice.

Just like any other bit of self love, handling success takes practice. It takes hurling yourself through a potentially anxiety inducing activity and accepting the positive feedback graciously.  It takes not allowing yourself to sabotaged by your own insecurities.

It also takes the ability to possess enough gumption to know you are on the right track, even if no one is telling you so. (Read: when you get no blog comments on a post, when NO ONE “likes” your facebook posts, when no one tells you that you look smokin’ hot, when no one responds to your heartfelt twitter question, or when you write an amazing paper that is just not quite your teacher’s style.)

It means silencing the deep-seated NEED for validation.

Today: I am going to practice unyielding acceptance of all love and admiration that comes my way. I am going to feel blessed because I love what I am doing. I am safe here.

What about you?