My son Daniel will graduate soon from Pomona College. As he dons his cap and gown, I expect he will feel proud of his accomplishment.
The reality is that he did accomplish it, but not alone. “We” accomplished it. Yes, Daniel worked hard and deserves praise and accolades. But he had luck and help along the way.
Daniel was born in Atlanta, Georgia, not war-torn Africa. He grew up in a loving stable household; he never had to worry about his physical safety or where his next meal would come from. And he had private school teachers who engaged him in a dynamic learning environment.
All too often, we give ourselves too much credit for our individual successes. We fail to recognize how lucky we have been and how many people and the rest of society has contributed to our success.
When we give ourselves all the credit, we dampen our sense of gratitude. When we give ourselves all the credit and things go badly we find ourselves taking all the blame and feeling alone and isolated. (And that is rarely, if ever, true.)
Reflect on your success. Cultivate a sense of gratitude for everything and everyone that made it possible. And then, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.