This is a story about Jane (fictional name) whom I’ve met about 8 years ago. Jane is an amazing woman, and her life has been full of ups and downs. Let’s just say her life literally had everything in it. Happy moments, sad memories, drama, fun and love. Her heart has learned to adapt to situations and she eventually understood that life isn’t all about money and wealth. Once she got to understand this, she realized that her 15 years old job needs to change. She has been working in the same place for such a long time, a time when she witnessed change, a time when she had to adapt to new technology, to keep up, and a time when she forgot to live her actual life, outside of the office.
Working 10, 12 or even 14 hours a day has turned her into a robot, sometimes without the right to an actual proper good night sleep. Does this sound familiar? I bet it does. This office routine gets to us at some point.
But her hunger for money, an apartment, a car and a “rich” life has made her forget about real emotions, real feelings and real love.
Today, after 5 years I’ve met her again. She is completely changed. She looks healthy, she is happy and she finally got engaged. She will be 45 years old this December. Pretty cool, right?
So, let me just explain why the title for this post is “being proud”. Although Jane is part of my life, we haven’t seen each other very often. We mainly talked when she had bad times, when she needed advice or when she really felt like her life had no meaning. We actually discussed her decision to change jobs and to reorganize her life. It was the toughest, roughest and most honest conversation we’ve ever had. We laughed, we cried, we shouted at each other and then we cried some more (tears of joy in the end).
The day she went for her first interview, I told her I was proud of her, and I really meant it, and she felt that. For her second interview we prepared together and we discussed possible situations and imagined interview questions and after the interview I told her I was proud of her.
She told me: “I don’t know why you keep on saying you are proud of me, I don’t feel proud of myself, I just went because I had to”.
Little did she know that I was proud of her because she actually had the courage to step up for herself and realize that she wasn’t going anywhere with how her life was back then.
Little did she know that I was proud of her because she dressed up, used make-up again and made herself look pretty and actually took half an hour for herself, to look “presentable” for that interview.
Little did she know that I was proud of her because she took the tram, and didn’t order a cab from the same company she’s used for 15 years. She wanted to take a moment and get over her emotions and enjoy the company of strangers in a tram.
Little did she know that I was proud of her because she made a perfect first impression and she realized how much she is worth and how much she can give and receive from people.
Today I told her again “I am proud of you!” and now she answered:
“Now I know what you mean by this, because TODAY I am proud of myself as well!… I want to thank you for believing in me and emphasizing how proud you were and are.”
She also told me that she never thought that hearing these words would give her so much confidence and belief that she actually did a good job.
So now I ask you: when was the last time you told someone you were proud of them?
You have to trust me, being proud of someone is a big deal, don’t just be proud of family and friends… be proud of co-workers, people who you meet for the first time, shop assistants, waiters and doctors. There is no measure for being proud, and it makes such a big difference to the person whom you’re addressing.
Trust me, the power these simple words has is limitless. We need to learn that emotions do make us better and that with small gestures, honest feelings and cute compliments we can actually change someone’s life around.
Today, I am proud of all of those who believe in the power of feelings and I am proud of all those who understand how much a hug and a good word means to someone.