You’ll Stumble in My Footsteps

File 11-01-2016, 14 28 16

 

“Try walking in my shoes. You’ll stumble in my footsteps.” (Depeche Mode, “Walking in My Shoes”, 1993)

Every day, you do things and deal with things others couldn’t. Recognise this, and be proud of yourself. The idea behind today’s thought is that, like me, you probably spend a lot of time admiring other people and their skills, their ways of dealing with certain things, and so on.Believe it or not, other people probably feel the same when they look at you. I’m sure my dogs are pretty chuffed that I make food and toys appear from a cupboard every day. But that’s exactly the kind of ridiculing, self-deprecating sentence that actually doesn’t go with my favourite Depeche Mode lyric.

It’s about owning up to the fact that you’re pretty amazing, and that others would probably fail miserably at living your life. This is a thought that will keep appearing in various forms and contexts over and over again this year, but it’s worth every single repetition-to-come: give yourself some credit. Honestly, unapologetically acknowledge what you do well, whether it’s something small or something big.  Realise that most of the time it isn’t just down to luck or other people, as you probably keep telling everyone when they compliment you. It’s ok to be ambitious, and it’s ok to always strive to do better next time, but that doesn’t mean underestimating what you’ve already achieved.

Appreciate your strengths. Be proud of your achievements. Academia relies on critique. Not many people will tell you you’re doing great. One of the most valuable skills is to be able to shake the constant self-doubt and recognise both your professional and personal qualities. Don’t rely on other people doing it for you, but by all means help other people recognise their strengths, too.

So, give yourself a pat on the back for something today. Remember that others would indeed stumble in your footsteps.

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Nadine Muller

Nadine Muller

Nadine is Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University. Her research covers the literary and cultural histories of women, gender, and feminism from the nineteenth century through to the present day. She is currently completing a monograph on the Victorian widow (Liverpool University Press, 2018), and is leading War Widows' Stories, a participatory research and oral history project on war widows in Britain.

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