I’ve been a seeker of validation for much of my life.
I’m not super-proud of that trait, but I think as a weird, sensitive little girl who morphed into a somewhat more comfortably weird, sensitive adult, I struggled with an affliction of what I have aptly named “Please Disease.”
One of the greatest gifts of ageing is the wisdom that comes from curing yourself of such afflictions. When you define your own ideas of success, the rewards are as personal as the journey to get there. That’s my kind of selfish.
Yet, I can tell you that I wasn’t prepared for the impact I would feel when I received the highest praise recently from the person I didn’t even know I needed to hear it from, the person who likely didn’t know I needed to hear it all: my husband, the Carpenter.
A high-five in the kitchen and those four powerful words – “I’m proud of you” – had an instant impact. I was speechless.
This weekend, we closed the gates on our seasonal business until next year. We had the best summer of our lives, and we worked hard for it. Our success came in learning every day, working together, being flexible to change, meeting awesome people and seeing the potential to grow the business. Fortunately, we were backed by partners who trusted us completely. That’s a rare thing in itself.
This move to the country was the greatest risk we’ve taken on as a couple (beyond the whole forever commitment thing and raising humans with zero training). Turns out, the Carpenter and I make a good team. Who knew? But much like marriage, the work often isn’t equal.
And that’s okay, so long as we don’t take each other for granted. It’s as simple as acknowledging the effort and commitment we’re making to build a future we’ll share. Having each other’s back. Knowing when to put the kettle on at the end of a long day.
From the get-go we agreed the bulk of the work in the new venture would fall to me, based on my role, skills and experience, but there was plenty he could do to support it, and he always did. Yet, he encouraged me to set and navigate a course to follow. He trusted me to lead. Truth? I think he liked me cracking the whip (stop it.) He never missed a step. He didn’t even question my sense of direction, and guys, he questions my sense of direction daily.
So there is nobody else who could say they were proud of me with that same impact, because nobody else has taken this ride with me every single day. We were (and still are) in it to win it. And words matter.
How often do you tell your life partner that you’re proud of them? How often do you actually speak those words? Acknowledge that they’ve achieved something important or celebrated a win, whether it’s a shared goal or an individual success? We always assume the people we love know we’re proud of who they are. Maybe they need to hear it. Maybe you need to say it first.
Of all the people in my life I want to impress, the Carpenter has always been top of my list. It’s ironic, because he’s the one person I’ve never had to. Knowing that didn’t make that moment in the kitchen any less important, just sweeter.
Moments, like words, matter.