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Soulful Sundays: Small Victories

Just the other day I was able to do something that I hadn't been able to do prior to this year. I did several handstand pushups in a row and was simultaneously struck with two thoughts. The first was celebration and the second was the desire to do them better next time. I find it comical how often these two impulses arise together in my life -- joy and the desire to improve. It reminded me of a common platitude: take the time to celebrate the small victories.

This topic gets back to the nature of the human mind to overly weight the importance of negativity (see my earlier post on this topic) and to gloss over the positive aspects of our lives. It is a tendency that will consume us if we don't proactively work to counter it and can set us up for a lot of longing and disappointment. I've heard it said that "when we have gratitude for the things that we have, we will get what we want, but when we want what we don't have, we will lose what we do possess."

The practice of gratitude has become somewhat of a cliche in modern times, so I prefer to take a slightly different approach. Each time something unremarkably pleasant takes place in my life, I take one full breath to appreciate it. It doesn't matter how small. Sure, I get distracted and miss a lot of opportunities to do this, but with this intention I am celebrating more often than before. A good meal, a good workout, a life-affirming conversation, a phone call with your mother, a nice bath, an interesting book, a sunny walk. All of these are reasons to celebrate.

So ask yourself "what enjoyable things/abilities/friends do you have in your life right now that you didn't have before?" They can be as simple or as complex as you wish. Now, consider how you can shape your day and future days by increasing your acknowledgement of the small joys. Beautiful and rich lives are built one day at a time, one small step at a time, one small victory at a time. Have an amazing week.

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