A lot of people I know spend a lot of time praising everyone else's achievements but not enough on their own (with a few arrogant exceptions, obvs).
I don’t know whether it’s social conditioning, false modesty, low self-esteem or a combination of all three, but virtually no-one seems to be able to blow their own horn these days, including a number of this site’s writers (and Editor - ahem, Rebecca [Sorry Alisande - after much agonising I've added my bit in below. I was inspired by everyone else's ace contributions. --Rebecca]).
When I asked for contributions to this piece (which I want to turn into a gallery that celebrates how awesome our readers are), it was a teeny bit saddening how many people emailed me to say they couldn’t think of anything they feel proud of themselves for.
I mean, I’ve never met any of the other xoJaners in person but can think of things about each of them has impressed me. Why can’t we just once take a long hard look at ourselves and see the good, rather than the bad? Yes, I'm on the self-help books again, guys.
Luckily, a few writers did rise to my challenge, and the things we’re proud of ourselves for are below. I loved reading what everyone else had to say and, basically, would like to create a space where xoJane UK readers can also say, "actually I am really fucking proud of this" and not feel like a dick for it.
Whether it’s an academic achievement, maintaining sobriety or a relationship, learning a new skill or standing up for yourself and others, nothing is too big or too small to mention!
Email your picture or written contributions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to me (@AlisandeF).
I’m proud that… I enjoy spending time alone. After being bullied as a teenager, I didn’t always like myself enough to feel that way, and spent every available minute socializing with people I didn’t necessarily like just to feel worthwhile.
It took a lot of work to get to the point where I could spend time on my own, never mind enjoy it. I learnt how how to say “fuck them” and mean it.
For the most part, I’ve lived my adult life on my own terms. It hasn’t always rocked but for the most part it’s been pretty good. I think if I’d tried to live up to the expectations of my Sloane-y school and classmates, things might be quite different.
I am not afraid to stand up for the causes I believe in. To that end, Olivia Singer and I have recently founded a group that will raise awareness and funds for causes that effect Irish women.
I spent ages trying to think of something I was proud of, but everything either sounded really trite, or it was accompanied by a massive caveat in my head ‘you can’t be proud of that – someone else did all the hard work.’
I was vaguely thinking about being proud about getting a first for my dissertation even though I researched and wrote it in two weeks, but decided that sort of shoddy work ethic shouldn’t be applauded.
Then I had a proper duh moment last night and realised that this lovely site is the thing I’m most proud of in the world. Ever. I nearly burst with pride every time I see all the intelligent, inspiring comments on one of our articles.
And seeing some of our lovely contributors signs here today made me a bit teary (it’s been a long week, I’m not normally a crier). SO. PROUD. OF. YOU. ALL.
I'm less proud of my fringe in this photo.
I’m proud that I have managed to maintain such a lovely network of friends. I used to be terrible at keeping friends, but I’ve improved. I’m proud of being open-minded, and I hope I stay like it even when I get really old.
I am also proud that I graduated this year and managed to get the grade I wanted. I’m really proud of my Mum, too. I know that’s not directly about me, but I wanted to say it anyway.
And even if this is cheesy, I’m really proud that I write for xoJane UK. Not proud of my drawing skills though. It was supposed to be a graduation cap, in case you wondered...
I know people say until you have kids, you don't know what having kids is like and the love you feel for them. It's true. I hate kids, but my girl is remarkable. I'm so proud of her already and she's only three.
I never ever thought I would get married. I grew up in an angry house where all my parents did was argue - they weren't suited to each other and they wasted so much time together. I'm proud I met a good man and we're not like my folks.
I read Jane magazine religiously and idolised it. Here I am years later, a part of something I never thought I could be. I'm proud of me - thanks for letting me write as me.
Sometimes when I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, or when things are good and life has a way of pulling out the rug from under your feet, I've managed to come through the other side. I'm proud of my strength. Most of the time anyway...
I'm working on becoming the best person I can be (so that my life is a competition with myself), and I'm proud of the things I achieve doing that.
I'm proud that, even though I have less than half the energy my peers have, I volunteer besides my job. I'm proud that I choose to do what I feel is right, instead of what is the easiest or most profitable.
And I'm proud that I decided to not be someone who worries about what she cannot do, but focus on what she can do, this has give me some really good opportunities, even though some of them scare me shitless.
One of these things is writing - in a foreign language - for XOJane, and one of my articles has even been bought by the Dutch Elle magazine. How can one not be proud of that? (BTW, I cannot actually write with a pen, so that beautiful handwriting is a friend’s).
This is me with my NA 1 Year key ring, which I got after getting one year of clean time on September 15th. I didn't think I wanted to be clean, I certainly didn't think it was possible, but I have never been so proud of myself for anything.
One night when I was 21 I went to bed outgoing and sociable (and probably hungover), and woke up the next morning housebound. Suddenly, I couldn't go anywhere without having panic attacks so severe that I'd faint.
Two years and a lot of hard work later, I got better. Then I relapsed. Then I got better. Then I got glandular fever. Then I moved to London.
My point is, I may leave the house some days still carrying a mug of coffee and a wet toothbrush, but at least I leave it. Also, I no longer say 'eaukay' or 'yah'. Life is a journey, you guys.
I don't believe in false modesty but I did find this quite hard to do. Outside a job interview situation it isn't often you're asked to sum up any achievements! I'm proud of completing my Masters (without a mentor after I reported my designated mentor for sexual discrimination - not the first time such a complaint had been made I found out later).
I'm proud that I know my own mind, to be a founding member of the Brighton Feminist Collective and that I made the deadline for this feature [which I may have been a bit naggy about- Alisande].
I have always tried not to take the easy way out and for me, having Gabe was a massive part of that. When I found out i was pregnant so many people were like 'Well, you can always have an abortion'' but I knew in my heart that it was not for me, despite the fact it would have made my life a million times simpler then and now. But I've never been that girl.
From fighting back at school bullies, to taking my first music college to court for breach of contract (and winning!) to figuring out how to become a parent, I'm proud that I've stuck to my guns.
I'm also hugely proud that I haven't forgotten who I am while becoming a parent. Completing my singing diploma while massively pregnant is probably the most significant thing I have ever done purely for my self but talent, discipline and courage are not things to be embarrassed about.