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How to recognize your greatness

Danaé Reid

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We live in a society that encourages self-love and appreciation—but only to a certain extent. As children, we are constantly reminded of how smart, attractive, talented and good we are by our elders, but it seems that once we begin to grow up and acknowledge these qualities for ourselves, we tend to be viewed as someone who is pompous, pretentious and/or arrogant. All of the descriptors listed carry a negative undertone and couldn’t be further from the truth. When acknowledging positive qualities, it’s about being confident and appreciative of ourselves and nothing more.

Today’s society has seemingly confused what it means to be arrogant with what it means to be confident. Confidence is self-esteem, positivity and inner strength. Arrogance is boastful, self-righteous and ostentatious. When I think of someone who is confident, I picture someone who knows their worth and is proud of all they’ve accomplished, but doesn’t feel the need to boast.

When I think of someone who is arrogant, I think of a person who lacks humility and uses their accomplishments to put others down. Unfortunately, in this hateful space that we seem to occupy at this point in time, people seem more comfortable to stick with the definition that seeks to lessen the “shine” of another person than to accept that another person is simply confident and filled with self-love and appreciation.

An excess of sangfroid in others can be threatening to someone who lacks conviction within themselves. Often times, people who struggle with self-confidence purposely downplay the accomplishments of others in order to feel a feigned sense of either sameness or superiority. Because of this, sharing accolades with friends or family may be a little more difficult for some than it would be if they disclosed said information solely on the internet. Most of us can relate to someone trying to condemn us for our excitement in whatever capacity, again, making it hard for us as a whole to fully accept the greatness we possess.

Feeling good about yourself is crucial which is why I am a huge advocate for self-love. I have endured hate from people who’ve fallen envious of my successes, and I’m sure whoever is reading this has experienced the same.

Unfortunately, it’s a part of life. Because I’ve been through the same cycle multiple times with various people, at one point, I started to question if I had tricked myself and others into believing that I possess greatness and am really doing wonderful things in the classroom, community, workforce and my personal life. Thankfully those moments don’t last long.

As aforementioned, there was a time when I’d felt like I couldn’t share things about myself out of fear that people would judge me negatively. However, I finally got tired of questioning myself and realized that I didn’t need validation from anyone else. I am great and so are you.

I’ll be the first one to say out loud that I’m “killing life” or that I look beautiful today: I don’t say that to brag or to have others agree with me, but because I genuinely feel good and I see nothing wrong with attesting to it. Posting multiple pictures of yourself on your social media account does not necessarily mean you think you’re superior. Telling your friends of your successes does not make you a braggart and so on. We must change this mindset and replace it with positivity.

Acknowledging self-love and appreciation should not be viewed as an attempt to make others feel small. It’s a celebration of greatness.

In my case, I use those positive moments to encourage others to work hard and appreciate themselves more. I constantly remind people that there is room at the table for everyone and we need to spend more time lifting one another up than finding reasons to put one another down.

If you are currently struggling to realize your self-worth, I’d like to be among the first people to tell you that greatness lies within you and offer the following suggestions to help get you on the path to finding that greatness for yourself.

Keep a gratitude journal to record the good things in your life. Celebrate the small, seemingly insignificant wins and accomplishments. Get involved doing what makes you feel good such as exercising, serving in your community, and the like. Perform self-care routines (whatever that looks like for you) and go out there and kill your goals!

I’ll be rooting for you the whole way!

A Serial Optimist & Positive Thinker

Danaé Reid is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in African-American studies. ✉ [email protected].

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How to recognize your greatness