accomplishments

Gratitude. Young woman in a field feeling grateful.

How to Recognize the Good Stuff—Keeping Gratitude in Our Lives

“Thank you!” 

Such a simple thing to say (or think), but it’s so important.

Having gratitude in our lives results in a range of benefits—both individually and from the perspective of society. The act of acknowledging the good things in our lives, and the fact that we are grateful for them, adds meaning to our lives in many ways. It allows us to keep a healthy perspective when we might have otherwise wallowed in our negative emotions and our interpretations of the unfortunate or unfair aspects of our lives.

A sense of gratitude helps us to interact with others in a healthy way. It helps us avoid a “me first” attitude or a sense of entitlement by acknowledging the source of our good fortune, happy feelings, meaning, and fulfillment. 

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Show Off. Young Man Pointing to himself.

Show Off

Do you feel the need to make sure people are aware of your successes and triumphs?

I mean, what good is success if no one knows about it, right? Seems simple enough, but being a braggart or a show-off is never very attractive in a person. It really depends on the way we reveal what we’ve accomplished.

From a very young age, people have an innate urge to show off. From doing something to impress our parents (“Dad, look at me!”), to trying to impress a coach or a teacher, to trying to win over that first crush, exhibiting ourselves to impress others is very much part of the human condition.

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Pride. A father proud of his son.

Pride

Do you feel good about yourself?

Are you satisfied with what you’ve accomplished in life? Do you think or talk about it a lot?

Pride is a double-edged sword. It has historically been considered an undesirable trait, while humility has been considered a virtue. The “sin of pride” is one of the seven deadly sins. However, in this context, pride is a relative term—we would have to feel we’re better than other people. It could also be interpreted as arrogance, which takes that superior feeling one step further—to acting superior or saying that we’re superior.

Pride can also have positive connotations. The positive feelings that come from knowing we did something well or achieved something are part of our motivation for doing those things. Pride gives us confidence. It can be the foundation for our belief in ourselves and our ability.

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Accomplishments. Rock climber rappelling.

Accomplishments

What are you most proud of?

How much do you think about it?

There can be a tendency, especially as we get older, to believe that we’ve done our best work: We’ve run our fastest race; we’ve written our symphony; we’ve painted our masterpiece. We might go so far as to base our identities on our past accomplishments rather than on our current lives.

It is interesting to think of the periods in our lives when we were (or will be) on fire. When is our heyday? If we think it was in the past or will be well into the future, that’s a sign we’re not living our lives the way we could. Why can’t our heyday be right now?

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