I don't know about other countries, but in Australia, we love a struggle story.
We seem to revere those who have done it tough. We even have specific terms for these people. Terms such as "little Aussie battler," or "fighter." We may even refer to the person as having "gone through the wringer" if they have had a rough go of it.
And Aussies are fantastic at "helping out a mate" when they need a hand, or have had a bit of a "rough trot." We are all for pitching in and doing our bit to help out, because we love the underdog, and do what we can to support them.
In contrast, however, we don't seem to show much love for those who succeed.
More often than not, we ignore our musical or acting superstars. Until they make it big overseas, that is. Then we proudly claim them as "ours"—we have even been known to lay claim to those who have actually originated from across the ditch! We are good like that.
Sadly, we Aussies can be afflicted with a bad case of Tall Poppy Syndrome.
For example, if you make a lot of money, you're a rich bitch/bastard. As a male, if you buy yourself a flashy car, you'll be labelled as a show off, or some kind of reference will be made to a body part which may be seen as being "inadequate."
As a female, if you wear designer label clothes, or carry a Louis Vuitton hand bag, you're a "wannabe," or a pretentious show off who is begging for attention. Either that, or you're a gold digger.
And Heaven forbid if you tell someone some exciting news, or share a win of sorts. You'll be called a braggart, be accused of being "full of yourself," or be delivered a quizzical look which implies, "Who do you think YOU are?" (insert raised eyebrows and a "pffft" sound).
Yep, we are a judgmental bunch.
Not all Aussies are this way, of course.
Some of us are the most supportive and encouraging group of people you could ever be so lucky to meet. We love to cheer on our footy teams, help a mate pick up at a bar, or get our hands dirty to help a friend move into their new home. Need a hand with anything at all? Call an Aussie—just make sure you have a slab of beer ready to say "thanks, mate."
But there is a culture in our country that frowns upon celebrating personal wins and achievements.
Because of this culture, there are so many brilliantly talented Aussies who keep their achievements to themselves. They don't share their wins. They don't let others know about their successes; they fear they'll be judged as self-centred, narcissistic, self-absorbed show-offs. As apparently, those are the worst things you could be.
We frown upon pride, yet celebrate struggle.
As a 40+ year old Aussie woman, I learned not to talk about my achievements, as it made others dislike me. I never thought I was bragging; I saw it more a case of being suprised at my own ability and I wanted to share the excitement with others—those who I thought would want to celebrate with me.
And that's how I felt with my wins; excited.
Here is a quick biology lesson: When we are in a state of stress or anxiety, our body releases specialied hormones. We all know Adrenaline and cortisol are released, but so too is Oxytocin. Most people know oxytocin as "the love hormone," or the bonding hormone. And thats one of the things that oxytocin does; it helps us to bond with others.
In times of stress, we reach out to others for support, in part, due to oxytocin. We call our friends or family, or shout out for help. We need contact with other humans in order to survive and that contact helps us to get through what ever adversity we are facing.
The amazing thing is that excitement is actually another form of stress—the exact same hormones are released when you are extremely happy or excited, as the ones that are released when you are stressed or anxious. So when you are excited, you release OXYTOCIN!
So, naturally, just as you reach out for human contact when you are stressed, you also do it when you are excited!
I want to change this culture we have of berating those who do well. I also want those who succeed to not be ashamed of their success. I encourage all of my clients to celebrate their wins—in part, because it reinforces those "winning" neurons in our brains (which affirms to us that we actually like to achieve and want to continue to do so), but also because success is nothing to be ashamed of.
So this is how I encourage them to start celebrating their wins (not bragging, but celebrating)...
Think of achieving a goal, or success, as being like sex.
You and your partner have been enjoying the foreplay, and the gentle intimacy of each other for over an hour, and things are really starting to heat up.
You are just about to climax, but you both stop. On purpose.
And this is how your sex always is; you both get right up to the part where you are about to climax, but then you deny yourselves that final release of pleasure.
You both choose not to climax, because it feels too good, and it's not honourable to do things that make you feel good (and no, I am not talking about some tantric-type sex here, I am referring to vanilla sex—the normal, everyday kind where the point of it, if not for procreation, is pleasure).
That's basically what you are doing to your brain when you don't allow it to celebrate it's hard work; when you deny yourself the climax of success, and the joy of being able to share it with others, you take away the best part of doing it!
Why would you deny yourself the chance to release all that excitement, acknowledge all the hard work, and the chance to bask in the afterglow of success, out of fear of what others may think of you?
If you work hard to achieve your goals, you SHOULD celebrate your wins! Share your joy with those who love and support you—they are the ones who want to see you achieve!
Don't deny yourself enjoyment, excitement, or happiness, just because others around you may have an opinion; people are ALWAYS going to have an opinion.
And most importantly, don't deny yourself the "achievement orgasm" you have worked so hard for—if you can't be proud of your success, what is the point in trying?
Written by Kelly Brealey - Mindset Coach www.kellybrealey.com