Lesson 6: Celebrate Small Victories

Remember when you were little, and learning how to tie your shoes was a big deal?

Or writing your name?

Or riding a bike?

Or drinking from a grown-up cup?

Maybe you’ve had children and you remember the small achievements that seemed so big to them—and to you.

I have a habit of glossing over my small victories, and I’m guessing most other adults do, too. I just didn’t notice them as much as time went on.

Only the big victories were memorable; failures even more so.

Sometimes having a chronic illness makes me feel like I’ve reverted back to childhood, to a more helpless state. In a strange way, this gives me the opportunity to recognize any little achievements I might have.

Did I water the plants today? Yeah!

Did I get all the dishes in the sink washed? Great!

Did I eat a meal that didn’t make me swell up like a puffer fish? Alright!

(Okay, that last one was mostly luck, but I’ll take it).

When so many parts of my body and brain aren’t working properly, reminding myself of the things that are working keeps me from falling into a despair-hole.

It’s also a mood-booster. Our brains like celebration and appreciation. They also like feeling productive. Over the course of the day, these incremental pats-on-the-back can add up.

So, while I may not be accomplishing the “healthy me” version of my to-do list, I can still feel somewhat satisfied with what I’ve actually done. Even if that means writing “shower” down on my to-list after I’ve done it, and then crossing it off.

paula coelho quote

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