Updated: Feb 2
22 years ago this weekend I graduated from
The University of Virginia with my Masters in Counseling.
Caroline, our 3 month old, was also there on the sidelines, in her daddy's arms, cheering her mom on, or probably fast asleep. I remember being proud of myself, but also sleep deprived, hot, and very uncomfortable getting attention. (I know... shocking right? I don't usually mind attention, but I do not like being celebrated... please I always throw my own good bye parties when I leave a job... #controlfreak #please don't compliment me)
I thought it was the ceremony and length of the day making me uncomfortable, but now I know those were just circumstances.
It was my thoughts about them that created discomfort.
"I'm too old for a graduation ceremony" (I was 30 years young.)
"This speaker is boring." #yawn (truth)
"This degree was 5 times easier than my undergraduate degree so I feel foolish celebrating." (umm... maybe because I was in my zone of genius as a counselor and not forcing myself to love my undergraduate subject of government)
"Please I just gave birth and haven't slept in 90 days... that is far more impressive." (is there a contest for what is harder?)
"I'm so embarrassed I didn't rent my graduation stole in an effort to save money." (see photo above for proof and so not me now!!!)
These thoughts hijacked what could have been a gleeful experience.
A time to celebrate me instead of "get through it."
A rite of passage I could have honored instead of shirked.
And my overarching theme was that I was underserving of celebration because earning this degree was not that hard. I had the limiting belief that only things that were difficult were worth a celebration. (um.... back to giving birth) And I have carried that limiting belief with me into my fifties.
I sort of get a redo.
This Saturday, this same Caroline will walk the same lawn, and I will be on the side line (neither fast asleep or being held by Lewis.)
And I plan to envision myself arm in arm with her as she walks down the lawn. I plan to thank myself for all I have accomplished while I stand in awe of her and all that she has accomplished. I plan to feel glee. I plan to be still and attentive during this rite of passage. I plan to honor that I chose a degree that was in complete alignment with my strengths and a joy to earn, 22 years earlier.
And, I may even ask Lewis to hold me....
I am learning.
To be more wholly me.
To celebrate me.
To think thoughts that create feelings of pride and accomplishment.
Is there an area of your life that you can go back and really celebrate that you may have minimized before?
Something you told yourself was no big deal.
It can be just in your brain.
When you finally spoke the truth.
When you wowed your boss.
When you paid off that debt.
When you birthed the baby.
When you took the second job.
When you set a boundary.
When you earned the degree.
This is one of the most significant reasons I love being coached.
My coach will hold the space for me.
My coach models how to believe in me.
My coach celebrates me even when I am like, "Really... that was no big deal..."
And, this is what I do for my clients.
I celebrate every baby step.
I help them make change easy.
I help them get unstuck as effortlessly as possible.
Hard does not equal better.
Hard does not create more worth.
And this weekend I will get to heal that final area I regret not having celebrated in me, for me, even when everyone around me was hooting and hollering for me. I was raised by two parents who always celebrated me. I married a man who always celebrates me. I am entering into a phase of my life where I am ready to celebrate me. I am ready to acknowledge my gifts, especially those that come easily to me. And, I know it will feel awkward and that's okay.
I may even borrow Caroline's graduation robe and retake photos...
instead of a vow renewal it will be a graduation redo...
Cue the eye rolls....
And continue with the ease...
Your Masters of Education in Counseling 1999 coach...