it’s the little things; don’t forget that
“There are these moments you think you won’t survive. And then you survive.”
- David Levithan
Hi friends! I love this quote above by David Levithan because I feel with anxiety sometimes, we forget to celebrate our little wins in life. Like above, where he discusses how we feel like we won’t survive, but you know what? We do. It’s such an uplifting quote and that’s what I want to talk about today.
I feel that all people, whether you have anxiety or not, beat ourselves up too much. We don’t celebrate our little wins in life. You only went for a thirty-minute walk instead of your goal to walk an hour? Guess what. That’s still thirty minutes of exercise you chose to do to improve your health. You didn’t get all of the tasks done at work you wanted to today? Guess what. You probably got 80% of it done AND it was a busy day. You didn’t get all of the house cleaned and your laundry done? Guess what. Getting out of bed was the last thing you wanted to do today, but you got up anyways. We need to start remembering our little wins in life and stop hurting ourselves over what we expect of ourselves. We’re all just doing our best.
I, for one, know I need to follow this. I don’t celebrate my little wins, because when I look at other people surrounding me, their wins seem so much bigger than mine. I forget that, even if that’s true, it’s MY win. Just because it’s a little win, doesn’t mean I should disregard it. Instead of being envious of others’ big wins, I need to remember to just be happy for them and understand that when God’s timing for me is right, my little wins will turn bigger.
Have you ever had a situation where you were really excited about something in your life, but then when you noticed someone else had something “better” going on in their life, you felt that your excitement started dwindling? I know I definitely have had this feeling, and that’s why I like to think about this quote in those moments:
“Don’t let someone else’s greatness, stop you from seeing your own”
- Melissa Lande
I think we can all relate to this quote somewhat. I know it’s easier said than done to just be happy with what we have, but if we start celebrating our little wins, maybe it will start becoming more natural to just be happy.
Although, we can all relate to this, it hits a little closer to home for me because of my anxiety. You see, I let my anxiety control many aspects of my life for years, such as my career, school, friends, relationships, and so many other things. Now that my anxiety has gotten much better and I am living more of a normal life, I look back on these last years and feel that I have missed out on so much. I missed out on opportunities to go places with my friends because I was too nervous. I missed out on opportunities to date other people, because I was comfortable in a relationship that last for years, but at times could be toxic. I missed out on vacations I could have taken but was too afraid to get on the plane. Opportunities to live in different places I didn’t take because I was afraid of the unknown. There are so many aspects of my life I missed out on, all because of something that’s going on inside my own head.
Because of me feeling like I missed out on so much, I beat myself up A LOT. I saw people my age getting married, having kids, going on vacations, living in a beautiful home, having these great careers, and I would look at myself and feel like someone who messed up their life. When you fixate on this thought, it can bring you to a dark place, and that’s why it’s important to try and remember our little wins. The only way we can get to where we want to be is to keep building off those little wins until they become the biggest win, living a life we want.
Other people who don’t have anxiety may also relate to this somewhat, because their life may not be where they want it to be. They may not be at a place where their 18 year old self imagined them to be at this point in their life. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been wins along the way. It just means we forgot about them.
“Success is a series of small wins.”
With anxiety, there are a series of trials and successes one must go through in order to start seeing the life you always wanted. My story involves growing up in an atmosphere that heightened my anxiety quite a bit. It was very stressful most days with a lot of not so great memories that were still affecting me years later, even though I didn’t always realize it. In order to move on with my life and let these issues go, I had to dig down deep to the roots of my problems and decide what to do with them. Some roots I had to replant into something more pleasant, such as a better memory, and some roots I just had to dig up and toss out. By digging these roots one by one, you are essentially winning little by little. Each new root you dig up is one more step closer to success. A lot of people describe these “digging up roots” as “aha moments”. Moments where a light bulb kicks on and you realize, “wow, that makes so much sense to why I am feeling this way”. Each little light bulb going off makes life seem so much brighter when we realize that it does get better, little win by little win.
digging down deep
into the garden of her mind
she feels for the roots
some roots grow positivity
wonderful memories of joy
love and splendor, too
some roots are rotten
bad memories impeding
that’s when she decides
does she let this bad root soil the others
or toss it, and happier roots she sows
Everyone has their own story. Each person’s wins are different. Someone may consider it a win to get a B on an exam after studying all night, while the person next to them considers a C a win. Some people may consider going to a party on a Saturday a win, while their neighbor thinks it’s a win to stay in and watch a movie with a friend. Something that makes you happy or gets you a step closer to a goal is a win, I don’t care how small it is. If you feel discouraged at all with what’s going on in your life, start focusing on those little things, because trust me, they matter. I was at a point in my life once where I focused solely on negative things in my life and because of it, forgot about all the wonderful positive things happening around me. Honestly, just taking a break and going outside to be present in the moment while taking in the beauty of nature can be a win itself. Recognize your little wins.
What’s something you did recently that was a little win? Did you have a conversation with your significant other where you both felt heard and understood? Did you tuck your kiddo into bed and hear, “I love you mommy/daddy”? Did you complete a big project at work that took hours of collaboration and working through? Did you muster up the strength to get out of bed when you absolutely didn’t want to? What is a little win that has happened lately that you forgot about or didn’t acknowledge?
A few reminders for myself (and others if they need it as well):
- Focus more on positives instead of looming in the negatives.
- Stop letting other people’s successes belittle your own. You can’t expect to fill your cup by looking into others’. You will only end up spilling.
- Remember. The. Little. Wins.
We are all doing our best and each little win will lead to your ultimate goals. Let’s continue on this journey together, friends. Stay tuned.