Doing Well

Being evaluated is a weird new thing to me. Critique however, is not new and I've been able to take negative critique (in most contexts) because of being an artist and always being told to hold a growth mindset. Not bad things, not at all. But that can be handicapping, and it is for me. It's unbalanced is all. A growth mindset can include accepting praise but to me it seems like a stumbling thing that I could easily get stuck on, lose my humility then downward spiral into pride and complacency. Not where I want to be.

Positive feedback and praise is difficult. Taking compliments is harder than taking critique. My evaluation was almost all positive; so much about what I have been doing well. Things I care deeply about doing and things I put great effort into, and things I really do appreciate are being noticed. Accepting those and holding them close and letting the praiser understand how much it means to me never held any importance though. I take two seconds to feel it, to feel loved, to say thank you and then I instantly move on to downgrading the compliments, to minimizing myself and to make excuses to unjustify it all, to reason why the compliments seem to sound better than they probably actually mean.

Why can't I just take it? In high school I was one out of eleven or twelve students chosen out of my senior class for outstanding contribution to the community in efforts that went normally overlooked. It was a huge honor. Like a better version of valedictorian. I was called down to the stage to sit and be admired by my classmates, given balloons and flowers and a fancy certificate, a pin, a picture with the principle and more recognition than I'd ever fathomed. And I appreciated it and I wanted it and I loved it, but I found myself embarrassed of the praise. It felt obnoxious, over the top. I wanted to not be seen and to reject the praise. As much as I appreciated that I was being seen I didn't want to just accept that I'd put in the full effort to be good enough for reward, and to believe that was all that was required of me! I didn't want it to be me compared to all the classmates and friends I'd had to leave in the audience to sit in front of the school. I didn't want to believe I was any better, much less that I deserved recognition.

At the same time I have confidence in my own quality as a person. Enough to apply for jobs like the one I currently have and to truly believe I had/have a shot. But then a voice in me always questions it. Maybe that's normal, is it? Brianna you're good but are you that good? Well there are people better. Well why try, you may think you have a decent shot but you're up against a lot. Why would you stand out, look at all the amazing people around you.

A high quality best friend of mine wrote some words to me as part of my birthday gift and I didn't know how to take it. I cried and laughed like a normal person because it meant more than I could ever let her know. She was genuine and kind and so incredibly loving of me for me. And I love her words. I know she's right in what she sees of me but that's so hard for me to say because I don't want to like myself. I've gotta be better.

Okay but what the hecks the point of being better if I never accept that I am? It's like I need the approval so that I can reject it. I need to be told I'm doing well and then I need to take that and do better. What is that? Is that bad?

It's a matter of valuing myself but it's also a matter of valuing others and what they've gotta say. I'm working on it.