Self Acknowledgment ~ IS IT A SIN?

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self aknowledgement

In honour of the Canadian Thanksgiving today I am writing about the importance of self acknowledgement and specifically my ability to be grateful (in public) for my wins and my accomplishments.

I sometimes get email either asking me “why” I brag about accomplishments or reprimanding me about posting my achievements on my face book pages. One lady was really upset with me and wanted to know what my achievements had to do with any of it?  My “bragging” was on my personal facebook profile page, and I when I asked her why this upset her she really couldn’t answer other than to say “it is just wrong”. Recently I got another such note, this time the woman expressed admiration for my work and my message, but then said that when I “tooted my own horn” that way it took away from the power in my message.

I find this a bit shocking and even disappointing that survivors of depression and abuse would be offended by my celebrating my accomplishments.  In order to give some context to what some people find offensive I will list a few of my facebook posts that trigger these negative responses;

~I have posted my Alexa ranking (In 10 months time Emerging from Broken achieved the website rank of #344,000 worldwide. I posted this believing that I was celebrating what I considered to be a big win).

~I have posted a celebratory post about getting 1000 comments on the blog in eleven weeks.

~I have posted the growth in numbers of the facebook page for Emerging from Broken.

~I have posted links to the OTI Members Daily ~ a twitter newsletter put out by online therapy expert DeeAnna Merz Nagel from the Online Therapy Institute, when my blog gets included in the twitter paper.

~I have posted the number of comments on certain posts. The most comments ever was 77 for the post Sexual Abuse ~ Devalued, Discounted and Unprotected

~I posted that I was being interviewed by Scotland Counsellor John Wilson from Online events about my amazing journey and my blog. 

Most of these things are about my accomplishments! Some of them are just a way to get more people to read the posts or visit the fan page because I believe in my message and want other people to find out about it. My blog is about how I went from totally hopeless to living an awesome amazing and excitingly full life. I think that is worthy of promoting!

I spent most of my life in the darkness of depression. I struggled with low self esteem and had a poor self image until I took my life back about 6 years ago. In my old life, no one acknowledged me for anything, in fact I was often put down for my accomplishments, accused of cheating, accused of “sleeping with the boss”, someone else got the credit for my work and the list goes on.  I had huge issues with pursuing a goal because of the fear of those things happening again.

 I was talking to my young teenage daughter about this post and about the concept of not bragging or tooting your own horn; this is what she had to say “Pride is a sin. You can’t be proud of your own work because this is God’s work now ~ you did it for God so it doesn’t belong to you anymore. It isn’t “your pride” anymore. Don’t boast, don’t be proud. That is what I was taught in the Christian school” I think that is very sad that she was taught that, and I try very hard to erase that negative teaching from her belief system.

I learned all kinds of stuff about humility and all that jazz, but before I learned that, I learned to put myself down and keep myself down. I learned to squish myself before someone else did. I learned that it was safer to be quiet then to be in the spotlight. And all this had to be unlearned in order for me to embrace my new life in wholeness so that I could go forward.  

I was a broken woman who had given up hope, and now I have a mental health blog about emotional healing that gets hundreds of views per day.  

I was interviewed by a therapist last week. Therapists used to treat me like I was a fragile, breakable, shadow of a woman and they spoke to me with such care in case I fell apart. Today they are my colleagues. That is something to celebrate. And who is going to celebrate that for me? (click to see the YouTube clip of my interview with John Wilson.)

I doesn’t mean as much when someone else gives me credit. When I was in counselling therapy, my therapist would acknowledge me, and I couldn’t accept it. I learned to recognize my automatic reactions to his statements. Sometimes I just dismissed acknowledgement. Sometimes it made me uncomfortable and I didn’t know where to look, sometimes I thought that he was saying nice things because I was paying him to. I didn’t really always believe that he liked me and I felt like I had to PAY someone to listen to me or to talk to me. I felt like I had to pay someone to really hear me. That came from way deep down in my fragile self esteem and I don’t feel that way anymore.   

While I am on this subject, I also need to apologize to Hillary at “Quivering Daughters” because she bestowed upon me a beautiful blog award, (see it in the picture!) and I neglected to talk about it!  (MY BAD)  Hillary has a great website about Spiritual Abuse, and if spiritual abuse is an issue for you, I hope you visit her site.

I’ve come a long way baby and I am proud of myself. I don’t think that I am “tooting my own horn” because that statement has all sorts of negative baggage attached to it. I think of it as self care; I think of it as good mental health recovery stuff, positive reinforcement, and high fiving with the world!

AND WHY NOT? Whooooooooo hoooooooooooooo life is a ride and I am in the front car! There is room for everyone! Who’s in??

Love and Laughter ~ Always

Darlene Ouimet

P.S. all the titles are live linked to the places and people that I have mentioned, just click on them to visit.

67 response to "Self Acknowledgment ~ IS IT A SIN?"

  1. By: Paulette Posted: 14th October

    Katie … I so agree with that!! 🙂

  2. By: Paulette Posted: 14th October

    Fi ~ THAT’S AWESOME!!! Since I discovered that my abusive mother will never change and told the full story to my family members (via letter because it would be too hard to get them all together in one place & it allowed me to be able to edit what I wanted to say) – being my father and siblings. It’s given me a freedom I didn’t know I could have or would’ve experienced. And now that I know that a relationship with ‘the woman who would be mother’ is very impossible, because she’s narcissistic, I am way more open and vocal now about her abuse of me. I don’t care who knows anymore and I refuse to be silenced about something that is clearly NOT my fault. I also refuse to feel ashamed about something that was clearly NOT my fault as well. In my case, I can honestly say that confession equals freedom for me. So happy for you, Fi !!

  3. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 14th October

    Lisa, I’m toot toot toooting with ya!!! Keep shining your light and if you have to feel the fear and do it afraid, then do it and feel the liberation as you do it!!

  4. By: Katie Woodleigh Posted: 14th October

    Simply put, you are excited that you can open your mouth, and have a voice. Once our voices finally open, after being shut down for so long by the abuse ~ they are unstoppable. It’s not boasting what so ever, it is nothing more than a sigh of relief. A union of voices that have come through terrifying ordeals and together we celebrate breaking the silence. By posting the success of all of these words & achievements, you & many others like you & like me can join in with a sigh of relief that the silence has been broken.

  5. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 14th October

    I would just like to publicly acknowledge my achievements of this year
    – I disclosed my abusers to the police on 8 March 2010
    – I was believed by the police officer who interviewed me for nearly 8 hrs
    – I accepted a referral to a Sexual Assualt Referral Centre (SARC)for support through the legal process
    – I began working with my SARC worker in April, after 4 months of testing out and disassociating I finally was able to trust her and be real and safe with her
    – I began working with mental health professionals too and have slowly been able to trust more and more
    – I’ve been believed by everyone who’s crossed my path since I disclosed to the police
    – The case against my abusers was dropped for lack of evidence despite reams of evidence, they walked free and it’s been hell, but I’m still alive, I’m still here
    – I wrote my own “Bill of Rights” with my SARC worker last week which is the beginning of establishing a new life for myself
    – I am at the beginning of changing my name and will complete the legal formalities in Jan 2011, that’s about starting afresh and about my own safety
    – Now I’ve disclosed and been believed by so many people I’m starting to hope and believe for a future that’s not all about my abuse but that is about living not just existing
    – As a result of disclosing I’ve regained my voice and I WILL NOT BE SILENCED EVER AGAIN

    – I think I’ve achieved a hell of a lot during the last 7 months although it’s been hell to live through

  6. By: Lisa Marie Posted: 13th October

    If we’re tooting I have one to share. All my life I’ve been terrified of speaking in front of groups. I have the worst stage fright! A year ago I joined choir to try and cure myself of this fear. I’ve never had a problem singing in a group, I’ve been in choirs all my life. Here is where my tooting comes in.

    I have grown a whole new sense of myself and even gained back some of my self esteem since coming to this site, and OSA. A few weeks ago I asked for one of the solos in the Christmas program. I really don’t know what I was thinking. I got the solo, and I even sang it, by myself, in a room full of people! I know this may seem like no big deal to some people, but to me it’s a huge step in taking myself back. For too long I believed that I wasn’t good enough or as good as everyone else at anything. You shared a light with me, and I am determined to make it shine! Toot! Toot!

  7. By: Sheryl Matters Posted: 13th October

    About children being quiet on spiritual abuse…yes, as a child I can relate, and my kids went through it as well. I complained all the time to my parents, and my sister still complains to this day. My kids never wanted me to get involved. When the last church resulted in all four olf my children leaving in tears from their high school class experiences there, I was done attending. They may think that they would suffer MORE if I brought attention to what was happening. My son was punched in the mouth in swim practice one morning, and all the parents already knew that my son and another were being pitted against each other…but my son didn’t want me to know about getting punched…”don’t cause more trouble”

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th October

      Sheryl,
      Yes, it was interesting; my older son got sick and had to be home and away from school for almost a year.. and that is when we found out about 6 months after he came home, what was really going on in the school. The guilt and shame and emotional manipulation that they used on the kids was horrifying for us to find out. I also heard that if parents interfered, it was worse! I was also so shocked at these people who were supposed to be examples of love, grace and all that stuff??? I was paying for them to teach my children a Christian lifestyle, a love for Jesus? This is a bit of a hot spot for me.. LOL

      Today I realize though that keeping quiet is never the answer. We have had two situations of having to go so far as to call police to intervene. I was terrified, (the reporting would make it worse ~ these were not school situations) but I have never been sorry for one minute. My children have learned how to stand up for truth today and they have learned that any kind of abuse is not right.
      Thanks for your reply! Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Susan Posted: 13th October

    Woooo hooooo Elizabeth! You said it! Right on the money – “my good feelings came from others…I didn’t have any good feelings about me…and I wasn’t supposed to. When I did – I was quickly controlled…..”

    Precisely! And….not to get off topic – but this was also how I was kept in the belief that i was “mentally ill” for so many years…because when I tried to find or express my feelings – good or bad – I was quickly reminded that I was “ill” and needed more or different “meds” to control this.

    Thank you Elizabeth for sharing!

    (doing a happy dance….:))

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th October

      YES! Susan, Excellent contribution to this post!
      this is a big area where we can all encourage each other. I made a lot of progress with this part of my healing when I started keeping a gratitude journal. I wrote down some of my gratitude each day and my wins too. Pretty soon I was ready to share those wins!

      ELIZABETH!! I echo Susan here… this is exactly right on. I am doing a happy dance too!
      thank you ~ you prove that it is worth while for me to write this blog. You keep me going (along with all the others comments), but these kinds of comments are very special!
      Thank you !
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Elizabeth Posted: 13th October

    Wow, the focus of my control, and my good feelings always came from others. It was as if I didn’t HAVE any good feelings about me. I wasn’t supposed to apparently.When I did i was quickly controlled or retraumatized…wow that sounds so weird saying that, but its literally true. Now that is changing.And its time for peeking out and seeing what other brave survivors are doing to empower their lives and themselves.

    Darlen’s blog is a saga, and as Carla says, we are all travelling with her here.

    Its a celebration of life Darlene to read of your sucesses.I may not get where you are but where I am is a hell of alot better than where I have been, and I am very grateful for how far I have come already.You are an inspiration and your courage and so many others’ courage here is like soul food to me!

    And Susan, I feel as I know you thanks to your experiences, so similar to mine, and your honesty.

  10. By: Susan Posted: 13th October

    Lol! This post is so right on where I’ve been lately Darlene! I actually just did a post this week on this subject — and — it’s a great post! I am able to tell my story about what it was like, what happened and what life is like for me now….where I can see anothers success in life or this healing journey and begin to see the potential for what I COULD have instead of the jealousy around feeling powerless to have or accomplish what others have.

    I’ve had similar experiences on twitter mostly – where I’ll say something positive about myself and NO ONE will chime in and offer a cheer or any support. But – as soon as I focus on something negative, difficult or a struggle that others are or have experienced a lot of folks will comment about that. It’s amazing to watch – folks will jump on board the ship that is sinking but will resent you for grabbing your own life raft.

    I’ve come to understand this as another residual affect of the power of the past. In the work of Colin Ross this is identified as the shift of our “locus” or center of control having been taken from us so we feel powerless. Then we can’t attach to positive things because we doubt ourselves as we were convinced we were so unworthy of anything good. There’s more to it of course but it seems to come down to learning to recognize how we were conditioned to view the world – ourselves and others – through the eyes of those who reminded us we were “less than”. We can’t sit with anothers pain – or joy – when we can’t sit with our own:)

    Great post Darlene!

    I’m thinking a page where forks can call in or write in and do some tooting of their horns is in order?! Video, audio, articles….boy you’ve got me thinking now!

  11. By: Nicole Posted: 13th October

    Well Darlene, this might sound silly but I have finally learned how to cook. This is a big accomplishment for me. My mother never really let me do much with her and constantly critisized me for every little thing I tried to do as a child and adult…Turns out I love to cook and am really starting to get good at it. 🙂 So there is one of my toots LOL ((hugs))

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th October

      Nikki!
      That’s great! Thanks for sharing your toot! It is hard to say “I am good at” something ~ so bravo for you!
      Hugs, Darlene
      p.s. This is one of my “toot” things too.

  12. By: Nicki Posted: 13th October

    Carla
    I think your reference to the traveller is great. As you said each sticker is a celebration of what we have achieved and i think the colour, for me, represents that a person no longer feels shame/ashamed, as shame is often a key element of abusive histories, of their experiences but proud of their survival and they are showing the world that existing is no longer an option and that despite their battle it is time to live a now chosen life.

  13. By: Paulette Posted: 12th October

    Sheryl, I honestly wasn’t sure and wasn’t offended as much as I was concerned 🙂 … but I have had experience with an abusive pastor (spiritual abuse) years ago (dare I mention the movement?) – so I do have my opinions too. I didn’t grow up in a church like others have – but have quickly learned that pastors are just people too and are no more holy than their congregations. (Because of what my husband and I went through, we don’t do Sunday services anymore but are still Christ followers.) I hope Darlene is able to find time to write about spiritual abuse, that’s a whole other topic that also deserves attention. It can be so damaging. Sheryl, I am so sorry you experienced that kind of abuse!! Makes ya wonder, ‘Where is the LOVE?’

  14. By: Nicole Posted: 12th October

    Darlene, You are totally awesome! Everything you have overcome and accomplished is so encouraging. You go right ahead and toot your own horn! You deserve to. We all do. We all go through so many obstacles that many others dont have to. A little pride and a little self credit is healthy. It keeps us moving forward in a positive way. I have recently achieved a few things that I thought I would never be able to do. I am proud of myself and I will be the first one to toot my horn LOL 🙂 Keep going Darlene you rock! ((hugs))

  15. By: Christina Enevoldsen Posted: 12th October

    Darlene,
    I love how enthusiastic you are about your own success and about everyone else’s too. Why should you be able to celebrate and broadcast other’s accomplishments and not your own?

    I admit that at first, I felt uncomfortable about your freedom, but I recognized that was my issue, not yours, and used it to challenge myself to find those things that kept me from that same freedom. You inspired me and for that, I thank you. You’re a wonderful example to all of us!

    Hugs, Christina

  16. By: Carla Logan Posted: 12th October

    I had this picture pop into me head of a traveler, because we are all on this ‘journey’ together. And I saw a travel trunk that has all these stickers on it of places the person has traveled. It was very colorful and it made you want to stop and look and investigate the travels of this person. And that is what we all should be. We should be people who are colorful and who wear our travels right out there for everyone to see. And people will be uplifted by this, they will want to stop and take notice and share in those journies.

    I see you as this, you are sharing your journies and you are allowing us to see each place marked with a colorful sticker as you go. We all need to rethink how we absorb things, we should all be cheerleaders for ourselves and those around us, and not afraid to show our travel stickers!!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th October

      Bongo ~ Thanks for your encouragement too! I am glad you are here to share in this journey!

      Ginger ~ The thing is that most of the people who are reprimanding me ARE survivors. This goes so deep. I think that the problem is much of what has been said here, and that this is a good example of just how deep the brainwashing goes. We have been put down so long that it makes us squirm when someone mentions celebrating self. Well not all of us, but I was just like this too. I could acknowledge someone else, but it made me uncomfortable if THEY did it for themselves. Having said that, I am comfortable with self approval now!
      Thanks for sharing !

      ~Vivian ~ thanks! I have never felt so close to living “on purpose” or “in my purpose” or “with a purpose”.. LOL not sure how to describe it but you get it!
      Thank you for cheering me on!

      Carla ~
      Thank you for posting this perfect visual of the traveler. I love this powerful analogy and yes, this is how it is ~ my suitcase is battered but man I have some great vacation tips to share! I love my travelling buddies, and I am proud of how far I have come!
      Thank you ~ this is an awesome contribution to this post!
      Hugs!

      Hi Christina,
      This is a good point ~ no one minds when we promote other people or when we celebrate other people. You also bring up a great point ~ when I learned to look at “why” something was bugging me, if I can take an honest look at it, I could see where my issue with it was and I too can grow from there. (I am not referring to something abusive bugging me… sometimes when something is really getting under my skin, I realize that it has a relationship to abuse and control)
      Thanks for being here!

      Hi Nicole!
      I look forward to hearing your toots!! (horn toots that is!) LOL

      Hi Nikki
      YES it is time to live a chosen life! It is time to choose life! I love what you have written here!

      Thank you to everyone that reads here and everyone that contributed. I am so deeply thankful for all the comment, the encouragement and the “cheering!”
      Hugs, Darlene

  17. By: Vivian Palmer Harvey Posted: 12th October

    Keep on keeping on!
    Good and wonderful things are being done! YOU are living your life to the fullest..and doing what you are supposed to do.. NO false pride in that.. just acknowledgement, and rejoicing! Why NOT celebrate? For crying out loud!
    The numbers of women you have helped and are helping increases. I am one of those..THANK YOU!!

  18. By: Ginger Smith Posted: 12th October

    Darlene, some people are so bloody jelouse they can’t STAND to see anyone other than themselves happy. Instead of a pat on the back, they take their daggers & stab you in it. How dare anyone think they have the right to tell a survivor of all people, they don’t have a right to at last feel happy or proud of how far they have come. Girl, ones like that wouldn’t last FIVE minutes in our boots!! If we don’t give a wee bit of praise to our selves & to others once in a while, who will?? The abusers?? HELL NO!! Not in our lifetime. Considering all the horrors we’ve seen what nightmares we’ve been through, the tears, the fears, & all that other B.S. & garbage, I think we deserve a good word or two now and then. And girl, if ANYONE has a problem with that….TOO BLOODY BAD!!!

  19. By: Bongo Posted: 12th October

    I’m right here reading along..you post or brag about what you want to.. you have earned it.. I find it all encouraging.. I have learned so very much from your writings.People that don’t wanna hear your success’s can choose not to read and I believe it’s their loss.I am proud to share in your journey 🙂

  20. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 12th October

    Woohoo, this is a great post, can’t find the words, to be honest, but thought I’d just say that.

  21. By: Sheryl Matters Posted: 12th October

    Yes, the title of the website is unfortunate, however, I found the description of pastors to be helpful after many of my own experiences, helping make sense out of my life, a life spent in church, with wrong priorities that way, relationships triangulated to include the beloved pastor and his thoughts at all times, etc. The pastor’s children were praised while I (child and adult) was ignored/put down, (who would thrive under those conditions?)I have had a lifetime of it. It really helps me to understand why I don’t have to listen to what they say and why they are not superior to me or in charge of my life.

    Sorry if the link offended anyone. I was trying to offer insight.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th October

      That is exactly what I thought Sheryl,
      I wasn’t offended at all, and I have run accross the stie before as well. (too bad for the title, but it is likely named for search engine optimization ~ we can write all we want but we have to get found somehow)

      Many have been spiritually abused, my children had a terrible time in a christian school, and they kept silent about the spiritual and emotional abuse, (we all know why .. they were “trained to accept”; they were guilted and shamed, it is so unfortunate.) And as I say, however and wherever we find healing, goes towards the good. I have not read enough of this site to really have a valid opinion, but I am very glad that it is helping you! Thanks for coming back, and thanks for sharing what you have. I think that you have offered insight. =)
      Hugs, Darlene

  22. By: Paulette Posted: 12th October

    Well said Darlene … better said by you than me! 🙂 I have had experience with spiritual abuse too (which I won’t go into until you address it) … so I understand what you mean. 🙂

  23. By: Paulette Posted: 12th October

    for Sheryl Matters … the stupidchurchpeople.com site seems like some sort of ‘christian hate/dislike site’ which I can say I don’t care for, but everyone has a right to express or believe what they want. In my life God’s Word has proven true, and the more I learn and study, and the more God’s Word proves true, the more it solidifies my faith, even after being in a cult for 2 years in my late twenties. I am a Christ-follower, always will be – have been since I was 26 (I’m in my 40’s now.) My intention is not to ruffle feathers, as everyone has a right to believe what they choose, but felt it necessary to say something.
    There are many people and pastors who claim to be Christians and clearly ARE NOT. Sorry, just because someone goes to church doesn’t mean that they are in any way a Christ-follower. )

    Darlene, I apologize for posting this here, but felt I should clarify where I am coming from in regards to my beliefs, to Sheryl, as I think I may have been misunderstood?? 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th October

      Hi Everyone,
      Paulette and Sheryl

      I am not a fan of slashing any particular religion or denomination. I am a big fan of acceptance and the rights of others. I am a follower of Christ, but I doubt I will ever go to a “church” again. There has been MUCH damage done there. I do not like to generalize about people “as in Church people say stupid or dumb things or the church is stupid ” etc.. it is much too general. The same type of stigma is on mental health ~ none of us who struggled with that liked to be put into a certain box. In my view that is what this kind of judgment does.

      I think that site Sheryl is referring to has some good points, they just seem to deliver the content in a sarcastic matter. The title of the site alone is enough to turn me off. For me, this type of teaching style doesn’t work. Some of us however, might need to review it that way in order to get help getting over it. Spiritual abuse is a very very big thing and touches many of our lives. One day I plan to start writing or talking about it and have some experts in mind to share with us about it.

      I am not upset about Sheryl posting the link OR about Paulette posting her thoughts. I do not endorse the website, but others can decide if they want to visit or not. Having said that, if I believe that a link that is posted might be damaging to the readers, then I remove it and I do not endorse books or programs that I know nothing about. If someone post a book link here, that does not mean that I endorse the link.
      Hugs, Darlene

  24. By: Sheryl Matters Posted: 12th October

    Nicki,
    Your therapist’s words sound like good use of discernment to me!!
    Anyone who goes through a situation learns discernment for that situation. This is how we learn, unless we listen to voices that tell us to ignore what we experience and to not feel what we feel.

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