life · lifestyle · success

Weekend Walks: The Curious Practice of Belittling Our Successes

On my weekends, I like to walk.  I can spend more time on my fitness than during the week, and in SA, there is such a small window of time before it gets oppressively hot, so taking my workouts outside just makes me happy.

Picture_20170530_124123761 These are the moments that I can really dig into an idea and explore it from all sides.  Walking in the fresh air just somehow makes the brain work better, ya know?

Since it’s TECHNICALLY the end of a weekend/ beginning of a new work week, today seemed like the perfect day to start my  new series: Weekend Walks!

Recently, my department at the University I work for had our end-of-year awards ceremony for students and faculty.  I congratulated one of our faculty members on his new promotion and making tenure, to which he responded, “it’s not a big deal.”  That, obviously, got me thinking.

WHY would he say it’s not a big deal?  It’s a HUGE deal!  I started wondering- is it really not a big deal to him?  Is he just being humble?  Maybe I congratulated him on the wrong thing…maybe I should have congratulated him on his new book being published instead, because that’s a GIGANTIC deal.

So that got me thinking about all the times that people brush off their triumphs.  Like it’s the socially required thing to do, to belittle our own successes. Instead of owning our success, and even basking in it, most of us seem to feel a social obligation to make it seem small.

Are we afraid that if we own it, we’ll be proven to be frauds?  Do we inherently believe that we didn’t actually earn our success, and at any moment the rug will be pulled out from under us?  Are we so afraid that someone else will call us out on it that we try to head them off?

Which also begs the question- is every successful person inherently terrified that they themselves are frauds?   This, of course, got me circling around to the notion that we, as a society, tend to want to tear down those who would claim their successes.  We call these people arrogant and self-important.  Society rips them apart, questioning the legitimacy of their success, that it must have been acquired in an underhanded way.


Here’s what I think.  There are so many horrible, horrible things in life.  Every positive thing that manifests should be celebrated.  Not demeaned, or ridiculed.  We need to celebrate the affirming aspects of life.  We need to know that what we achieve honestly, we deserve. And embrace that with joy.

We need to know that even when (maybe especially when) the good in life doesn’t out-weight the bad, those good things need to be felt, welcomed, and honored.

Because without the good stuff, it’s all just nonsense.

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4 thoughts on “Weekend Walks: The Curious Practice of Belittling Our Successes

  1. I used to get all embarrassed and flustered when I got a complement. I didn’t know what to say. Many years later I realised when someone says something nice the best response is ‘thank you’. Excellent post. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

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