Feel Good Friday: I’m Proud of YouPosted: November 9, 2012
There is something very powerful, very moving in those four words: “I’m proud of you.” It means so much to hear those words come from someone whom you look up to, admire, love, and respect. And sometimes, you don’t have to hear those exact words, but simply a message that implies as much. Like the e-mail that I saved from my mom, after she read my blog for the first time:
LOVE your blog. Oh my goodness you are such a good writer. It is amazing.
You couldn’t have slapped the smile off of my face when I read this. My mom is proud of me.
I will admit that I can be a bit of a people-pleaser. But besides my husband, no one’s opinion means more to me than the opinion of my parents. They shaped me into who I am today. They did everything they could to ensure that I would become a kind, responsible, talented human being, and it feels so nice to hear that I didn’t let them down. That they were successful. That I am successful.
And yet, we shouldn’t live our lives to please others, and we shouldn’t make decisions based on what others might think. We should live our lives the way we see best, to use our God-given talents, to help others, to be the kind of person that we want to be. It’s just the cherry on top of the sundae when it happens to meet the approval of others. It’s that last bit of sweetness that we can savor at the end. It feels good.
I love telling my son that I’m proud of him, but I don’t say those words to him very often. I don’t tell him that I’m proud of him when he beats a new level at a Wii game. Or when he gets a star on a paper at school. Or when he makes a new friend. Or feeds the dog without being reminded. Or throws a football farther than he’s ever thrown. Or reads a whole chapter in a book by himself. I’m proud of all of those little things, absolutely, but I don’t want him to think that I’m only proud of his achievements. I want him to learn that I’m proud of who he is. Perhaps that’s why when he read this birthday card last week, he broke down into tears. (And so did I.)
After he read the birthday card out loud, he embraced me a big, long hug, crying quietly into my shoulder. It brought tears to my eyes immediately.
“What’s with the tears?” I asked him gently.
He squeezed me tighter.
“Are they happy tears or sad tears?”
He sniffled, burying his eyes into the dip of my collarbone.
I leaned back far enough to look into his eyes, and I asked, “Does it feel good to know that Mommy and Daddy are proud of you?”
He nodded and replied with a very quiet, “Yes.” And we hugged each other again.
I tell my son that I love him everyday. I tell my son “good job!” or “that’s great!” or “good thinking!” or “I like that idea!” all the time.
But there just seems to be something so powerful in the words, “I’m proud of you.”