Can You Celebrate Your Personal Victories in a Shitty Year Like This?

So far, 2020 has been a never-ending cycle of bad headlines and disturbing news articles, the next one arrived even before you even had time to process the previous one. Whether it’s a warning of new police violence, an update on a spike in COVID-19 cases, or the ongoing turmoil in presidential politics, it’s impossible to shake the awful feeling that things are really bad and only getting worse.

Then you start flipping through Facebook and Instagram. Of course, there is the usual mixture of uninformed relatives and people you went to high school who post messages about their right not to wear masks and that the “supposed pandemic” is not as bad as the “media” do (hello!).

Sure, these posts are crazy, but what about those that share good news, such as a promotion, engagement, or buying a new home? Given that we live in especially difficult times, is it bad to tell people about your successes and victories? Here’s what you need to know.

Are you experiencing some form of survivor guilt?

If you are fortunate not to have grown up in a culture or religious tradition where guilt is embedded in everything you do, don’t do, or even think about what you do or don’t do, this may be less of a problem for you. Even so, living in times rife with such depressingly consistent loss of life is exhausting and makes some people feel some version of survivor guilt. This is something that Dr. Heidi Brooks , Senior Lecturer in Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management, has heard a lot about lately.

“We hope that in life and at work in general, people are successful and able to thrive, and we hope to do the same during a pandemic,” says Brooks, who specializes in “everyday leadership” – the everyday micro-impacts that shape our life. experience. “However, it is clear that not everyone is successful or prosperous; that many people are more likely to have a survival mindset. “

But that doesn’t necessarily mean we need to stop celebrating altogether. According to Brooks, we can distinguish social celebration of achievement from individual recognition. “I think it’s really worth thinking about what is going on with this person, because the survivor has a tension of guilt:“ Is it okay that I’m okay? “When we know that other people are not okay because of the pandemic, issues of employment and housing, and issues of political tension [and] racial justice,” she tells us.

Can (and should) celebrate our victories right now?

Given that we live in a pandemic, the way we celebrate or acknowledge good news in our lives is likely (given the need for social distancing) to be primarily through social media. Or at least this is the part that other people see when viewing their feeds that can upset them. But as Brooks notes, even the way we interact with people through social media has changed this year.

“There is an expected normative equivalence: if I honored you before, now you will honor me,” she explains. “I got a new job, but you just lost yours, but you will still celebrate mine. Now it’s a little difficult to negotiate. “

And as fundamentally social beings, we at least partially understand the world through comparison and connection with others. “The reason we want people to know about our success is because we care about being recognized, socially validated, and reliving important events,” Brooks says.

With so many events, we have many reasons to be aware of the impact of our actions on others and, as a result, to be more conscious and socially conscious. “However, making yourself suffer because other people are suffering is not necessarily healthy, justifiable, or more honest,” explains Brooks. “Celebration is not the right word, but recognition and encouragement and the opportunity to grow is the way to talk about it.”

How to celebrate your victories in the right way for 2020

Now that we know why celebrating successes is so difficult right now, and why it matters how you share those accomplishments, here are some strategies to celebrate your victories according to our times.

Do it with humility and awareness.

It’s probably a good idea if we approach most things in our lives with a lot of humility and awareness in general, but Brooks notes that this is especially true right now. “If both of you can be aware of what you are saying and be aware of what you are experiencing, people are likely to hear it differently than if you were just celebrating in such a blind and heartless way,” she explains.

Accept the tension

Instead of stepping on the elephant in the room, consider giving it a name. “We might say, ‘Now is an embarrassing time to talk about this, but I think I want to let you know that I am thrilled to have gotten a new job, even though I know other people are underemployed.’ currently. I feel embarrassed, but I feel good and we are friends, so I just wanted to let you know, ”says Brooks.

When you name tension and name a dilemma, it makes it clear to other people that you are somewhat aware of what other people are going through. “So it’s not worrying or interfering with someone else’s experience,” she notes. “It’s a recognition that the experience can be different.”

Think about intent and influence

If you do decide to celebrate one of your successes, Brooks says that some people may feel like you are “pointing the finger,” but (hopefully) that is not what you are trying to do. “You are trying to celebrate, but your intention to celebrate is not necessarily related to the influence it has on others,” explains Brooks. This is why it is so important to be aware of the difference between your intention and how you can influence people in very different circumstances.

Know your audience

Not only is a tip suitable for public speaking and stand-up comedy, knowing your audience is an important factor in delivering your good news. For example, if you recently switched to a new job, your recently unemployed friend may not be in a place where they would love to hear the news.

According to Ashley Steel , according to experts on careers in SoFi-, if you know what impact the pandemic has had on someone enters into the conversation, change what you say accordingly. “Stick to the facts and give credit where necessary; now is not the time to give up on humble bragging, especially if you know your audience is not so fortunate, ”she tells Lifehacker.

Provide some context

Instead of just telling people about your success, let them know how you achieved it. “Winning is more universal and understandable when we understand the challenges of achieving it,” says Lifehacker Lisa Streiff, CEO of Knopman Marks , a financial exam training provider. “The human experience is full of strife, and no one is immune from it. Winning despite adversity can provide hope and inspiration, and we can all fall behind.

Recognize other people’s victories

Think of it as the opposite approach to gloating . “Remember to also acknowledge and celebrate the big and small successes you see around you,” explains Streiff. “Everyone can enjoy an extra dose of recognition and appreciation these days.”

Do not give up small holidays

The fact that we are now at the epicenter of several continually unfolding crises does not mean that any celebrations should be canceled for the foreseeable future. No, we do not offer to invite your closest friends and family on a private island for a party on the occasion of the birth – in fact, to celebrate the event, you do not need a lot of money.

“In these volatile times of high unemployment, it’s important to remember that small celebrations can still feel special,” says Lifehacker Andrew Wang , managing partner at Runnymede Capital Management and host of the Inspired Money podcast. “Having a simple pizza party on a Friday night or watching a movie with your family is really great. The global pandemic has changed my priorities, so the celebration doesn’t have to be big or expensive! “

It’s okay to be fine

We are constantly reminded that it’s okay if we’re not okay right now – an important step in the right direction in how we think and talk about mental health as a society. But Stahl says there is another side to this. “That’s okay too,” she explains. “There is an element of interdependence in choosing not to share your successes out of fear that it will make someone else feel uncomfortable. Above all, celebrate life where possible and try not to distort yourself too much around others. “

Use your success to help others if you can

If your recent success is financially related, Brooks suggests this: “You can use some of your good fortune to benefit others through donations, support, or simple wisdom about how and when you brag about your good fortune. “


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