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IT'S NOT A TRUMPET

THE BRASS BAND BLOG

Do Blow Your Own Trumpet [The Wasted Time Project]

The Wasted Time Project- Post 3


Firstly, I’d like to apologise for the title. At first it seemed like a really clever play on a saying but the more I look at it, the more I’m seeing a double entendre…sorry.

Anyway, today’s self-care blog theme is all about feeling proud. This post is not sponsored by Heather Small.

 

How many times have you actually felt proud of yourself? Like sit-back thinking ‘I’m pretty great’ proud?

Feeling proud of myself is one of those things I don’t do enough. I’m very much a person who does a task and moves on to the next one without ever sitting back and taking in what I’ve achieved. Quite a few times I’ve played out of my skin on stage and rather than sit back and accept the praise I’ve been given, I’m focused more on what I could have done better.

I’ve talked about this self-critical personality before in a previous post [click here to read] and for playing and life in general it can be great for progression but it also can be dangerous.

 

At nineteen, I took a gap year where I worked as a teaching assistant for children with special educational needs. Fresh from college I thought this would be a walk in the park. I’d done work experience as a TA before and it’s only primary level teaching, how hard can it be? Rather bloody hard actually! I had no idea how draining, emotionally, mentally and physically the job was. The stress of helping the children progress and enjoy their time in the classroom. The determination to help them feel comfortable and able to concentrate in an environment that can be quite challenging for any child. Don’t get me wrong, it was an incredibly rewarding job to see the child you’re working with, grow in confidence as well see their progression flourish. However, when I came home, there was never a time I sat back and thought ‘I’ve done a great job today’ all I thought about was what I could have done better and worry about the challenges tomorrow may bring. I think being critical made me good at my job. I worked hard, I pushed myself, I analysed my technique, but actually acknowledging the good things I did was equally important.


Now, looking back, I do feel proud. I could have gone and got an easier job that would have paid my way through the gap year but I made the choice to do something more challenging, more productive and something that may have made a difference. I was NINETEEN, but pro-active enough to see that  a teaching technique I was using may not have been working, so developed a new one. I learned to constantly come up with new strategies to help make the work easier to understand and reduce the stress of the learner. I took on stress that I’d never experienced previously and in truth I grew up and matured very quickly. I put my heart and soul into that job and I’m proud of what I learned about myself and proud that I took that job opportunity in the first place.

I just wish I’d been proud sooner!

 

Similarly, I’ve never truly been proud of any musical achievement I’ve gained. After winning a solo competition, my mum or nan or friend has asked: are you proud of yourself? I’d say ‘yeah’ but really I didn’t feel it. There was always something better I could have done- always. I won a place at one of the best music colleges in the country. Was I proud? Not really. I’ve played at two National Finals, both on a solo seat. I’ve played at the British Open with a band I dreamed of playing with for years. I’ve won solo competitions. I’ve now developed a blog that’s being read by more people a month than I ever could have imagined. It’s only now that I’ve developed the mindset to start being kinder to myself, I do actually feel proud and it has helped both my mental health and my confidence. Acknowledging the good you’ve done, no matter how small, seriously helps to see the good in yourself.

 

I think we think it’s wrong to feel proud. It’s big-headed or vain. I did anyway. I may be a brass player, but ironically, blowing my own trumpet was not something I did, ever. I thought people would think me over-confident if I said I was genuinely proud of myself, so I would always take compliments and praise on the chin. It’s so silly. If someone thinks less of you for being proud of yourself and acknowledging your achievements, then it says a lot more about them than it does about you. You worked hard for what you’ve achieved and overcame obstacles that these negative people didn’t even know you battled.

Image result for proud disney gif

Whether your achievement is simple like getting out of bed and going to work, or a bit more complex like winning a competition, making a difference in a child’s life or getting a promotion, revel in your achievement. Like I said, nobody truly knows how hard you tried or what obstacles you faced in order to achieve something, so don’t be afraid to, at least privately, celebrate how awesome you are! In fact, to hell with private! If you want to share with people something you are proud of, do it! Write a blog, post a pic on insta, share a ‘feeling proud’ status on facebook, spray paint it on the back of a truck (I’m kidding, vandalising ain’t cool kids).

 

To those negative Nelly’s who may not approve of you feeling proud, it just shows how they feel about themselves, feel sorry for them. Do not let them dull your sparkle because they don’t approve of you celebrating yourself. Throw a handful of proud glitter in their faces, dancing to Heather Small, whilst you blow your own trumpet at double forte and put two fingers up to their sad, negative, glitter-less existence.

Be you. Be Positive. Blow your own trumpet!

Read Post 2 of The Wasted Time Project, blog challenge here

 

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