Patting Yourself on the Back

Successful happy businesswoman and businessteam at office“Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back” was a common phrase heard when we were younger and more inclined to brag about our efforts and success. However as we have matured and gained more experience we have learned that being boastful can be seen as a turnoff by others. Yet, if we don’t recognize our successes – who will.

Girlfriend Guru DARCIE HARRIS gives us permission and suggestions for ways to pat ourselves on the back in her recent article 10 Guilt Free Reasons to Pat Yourself on the Back.

It’s time to revisit how we think about taking the credit or even seeking recognition. 

Mark Twain once said he could live for two months on a good compliment.

The truth is every human being needs to be acknowledged and recognized for their accomplishments. It’s healthy to be able to graciously accept a compliment without discounting yourself in response.

What’s more, if we disconnect from our own legitimate need to be recognized for our talents, hard work or results, we become martyrs, and we all know martyrs aren’t much fun to be around.

If we can’t accept our own needs, we certainly won’t be able to understand the needs of our girlfriends or employees for recognition and rewards.

Feeling snarky about a friend’s promotion, feeling jealous of someone else’s success, finding fault with a woman who is publicly recognized — these are all sure signs that you have denied your own need for recognition or appreciation.

So let’s stop this misconception right now. We need to make sure we take time to see how far we have come, the obstacles we have maneuvered through, the tragedies we have survived. Of the ten reasons that Darcie offers I particularly like number ten:

You can’t give what you don’t have — you can’t authentically recognize and reward others if your emotional cup is empty

I have a little exercise that I do that helps me during those times when my emotional cup needs a refill. When I receive a note or an email or a Facebook comment that contains a compliment, I keep it. I have a paper file in my desk as well as a folder in my email that allows me to save those little pats on the back from others. When I am feeling less than successful, I take a peek at those notes and emails and am quickly reminded that at some point I have provided knowledge, a service, a helping hand or a quiet moment of value to someone else and that helps rejuvenate my soul.

Do you have a way to feel appreciated that doesn’t rely on others to tell you how great you are? Forbes contributor Margie Warrell wrote an article entitled Feeling Appreciated? Why it Can Make all the Difference. As women business professionals we are quick to show our appreciation of others. Today we need to make sure we turn the mirror on ourselves and show appreciation to the wonderful, smart, funny, successful, hardworking, clever, innovative, creative woman you are!

Before you do one more thing, reach around and give yourself a quick little pat on the back. Trust me, you won’t break your arm!