Last week was just one of those weeks, nothing bad happened, but nothing good happened either. While I’m not a particularly needy person, I don’t really like attention and I am not dramatic, but sometimes I like a little recognition. I’m fortunate enough to work for a few companies and some are fantastic. They help nurture their underlings and make us better, then there’s others where you’re constantly torn down, for the betterment of yourself of course. Then there’s the others where nothing is said to you at all. You do your very best and work your very hardest, and you get nothing, unless you mess up. Even then, it’s not a reprimand, it’s just a “fix this.”
Granted, you shouldn’t expect anything, but a pat on the back just for doing your job is nice every now and then. Last week, I really wanted a pat on the back, just for showing up everyday and doing what I’m supposed to.
Then, as luck would have it, someone very close to me called me with this same idea.
She spoke about how when we are kids we get praised for literally everything we did. You finger painted a picture of a magenta tree? Good for you! You wiped your own ass? I’m so proud! (seriously, your mom probably called her mom when you learned to use a toilet) You got all Bs and one A on your report card? Let’s go out to dinner! You cleaned your room without me telling you to? Here’s a new toy. You lost a tooth? Check for money under your pillow…
As we get older all this goes away and we have to do something really extraordinary in order to get any kind of recognition, let alone praise. My friend had recently run a half marathon, which was beyond impressive and received tons of (well-deserved) accolades. But after the race, nothing she did seemed like quite as big of a deal to other people, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Everyone has those days where even a two-mile wog (walk/jog, my specialty) is a feat of God, and when you get back, all you want is a “Good job! You made it!” Yeah, maybe it wasn’t you’re best time, but you still did it.
We all need a little praise, even if it’s just for being us. I’m an eternal optimist, but by no means would people call me “Little Miss Sunshine.” I’m no cheerleader, rah-rahing on the sidelines, but I’m going to start making a concerted effort to let people know I’m proud of them just for being them.
Like you, reading this right now, I’m proud of you. Even if it was something small you did today, like doing ab exercises at your desk, making it to work on time, being cheerful before your first cup of coffee, holding the door, doing the dishes before they stacked up (or more impressively, after they stacked up), putting something back where you got it from, organizing that pile of papers, or making your bed before you left for the day. I’m proud of you.
I’ll leave you with this story. I was hiking Runyon Canyon with my roommate Brad one day near our Hollywood apartment. He is a bundle of energy and always in shape. I’ve always been the slow fat kid. So, we’re hiking this hill, and he’s way ahead of me. I was huffing and puffing my way up the hill, people passing me on both sides. Then I hear this, “You can do it Natalie! You got this!” raining down from the top of the hill. My first thought was, “Oh god, this feels like running ‘the mile’ in gym class again.” Then, when I finally made it to the top, a bit embarrassed from all the attention, I couldn’t be more thankful for Brad because while I’d just done something that hundreds of people do every day, including Brad, it was hard for me, and it was good to know someone was proud.
So think of someone, anyone, who you think may need to hear a word of encouragement, and tell them some thing you’re proud of them for, even if it’s just for their impeccable taste in wine, or home decor. Sometimes people just want a pat on the back every now and then, just for being them.