What do you think about when you hear the word proud? What immediately comes to mind? Do you think about your family, your accomplishments, your career? How long down the line do you have to go until you think about yourself? Are you proud of you? What does it mean to you to feel proud? I’ve been thinking about the feeling of pride this week, when the smallest of incidents brought it into my consciousness and of course, taught me one of the biggest life lessons. I’ll explain…

For my entire life I have been a nail biter. That’s right 31 years of picking, biting, and somehow always fidgeting with my nails. I’m not really sure where this habit came from or how it began; nevertheless, it’s a habit that’s been mine for the duration of my life. There are a few consequences to a nail-biting habit: short nails, picked cuticles, and the sight of a grown adult with her hands constantly in her mouth. Though none of those things felt good to me, my nail-biting habit felt like an addiction that I couldn’t break.

I noticed I started to become ashamed of my hands. I even created this whole story in my mind that I had ugly hands. I would even avoid having them photographed, and I felt self-conscious getting manicures. You can see how far one small habit, and the feeling of shame can take you. You are trapped, by limits that you place upon yourself.

I recently decided I had enough. I made an appointment at a nail salon in New York City with a well-recommended nail technician, and declared I was going to kick my poor nail habit. This place also does super cute nail art, so I’m adding fun into my assignment (which I highly suggest to all of you when kicking bad habits). I’m a few months in, I have long nails for the first time in my life, and every single day I have people giving me compliments on my nails. I feel proud. And the pride I feel for something so small like my nails, now allows me the freedom to feel proud of myself entirely. I had no idea how much something so small was holding me back in such a way, and affecting my confidence, my self-esteem, and my sense of self-worth. Really. Who knew?

This is just a small example of something in my life, that got me thinking, how many other examples could be affecting my life? And now I ask you, what is eating away at your sense of pride? Are there small, hidden parts of your life that are bringing you shame that you don’t even know about, or that you haven’t yet recognized? It could be something so small that you would never imagine or maybe it’s something life changing, but this week, I urge you to take a look.

The way I see it, the world doesn’t benefit from us not showing up fully and completely, and so, if we have these little habits and traits that hide the real us, we are robbing the world of the gifts that we have to share.

Each and every one of you reading this blog is an amazing human being with special gifts, talents and a unique purpose in this world—start becoming proud of that today by releasing whatever shame you are carrying around.

The first step is noticing it, and you can start today. If you are up for it, you can write whatever you’re ready to let go of in the comments, and we’ll all be here to support one another. I’m proud of all of you!

xoxo, Michelle



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