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    After finishing my master’s program in The School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, I felt a wave of relief. I had finally finished the schooling process that I was hungry to complete since my first alarm went off on my first day of middle school. I hardly ever found enjoyment in school, despite my successes. Though I’d always excelled throughout my education, I never really felt any sense of pride or accomplishment. Just relief to be done, another task to cross off of the list of things I simply expected myself to do.

    Every day was another day less on the countdown. I guess some days I felt better than others. Regardless, they were days standing in front of me and my pre-determined finish-line. I told myself that once school was over, I would be better able to enjoy the life that school was supposed to have set me up for. Impatience led to relief, and relief led to disillusionment and a longing to finish whatever came next, at the end of my next process.

    I give that synopsis to say this… practice taking pride in whatever your process is. In my own experiences, and in the experiences of my clients, constantly looking forward to the podium will impede your ability to reach it.

    How your negative self-talk keeps you down?

    • In disregarding the work it takes to get there, you disregard the attributes you possess that make reaching you podium possible in the first place.
    • A lack of pride in the process will diminish the positive reinforcement of the achievement.
    • When your desired outcome becomes an expectation, any hindrance or delay in the process becomes viewed as an inherent flaw in yourself.

    In recognizing you are more than your achievements, you allow yourself to better see your inherent strengths. There are parts of yourself that allow for your goals to become reality. When the days themselves become obstacles towards your expectations, you neglect the little victories that encompass each day.

    How can you start practicing taking pride in your process?

    • You can start by acknowledging something you feel you do well each day.
    • You can start to take notice when you feel dysregulated by our perceived lack of progress, and then reflect on how much progress you’ve actually made.
    • In finding even the smallest step in the process to take pride in on a daily basis, you can break patterns of expected behavior, and build acceptance of yourself in the present.
    • Rather than being beholden to your conception of yourself at the finish-line, let you begin to recognize the greatness you demonstrate along the way.