So often we focus on what we DIDN’T accomplish with our day, rather than what we DID. If you were to ask me why we do that, I couldn’t give you a straight answer. Maybe it’s because we’re a self defeatist society that likes to gripe about our problems to anyone with a good set of ears. Maybe it’s because it feels self inflating to “brag” about all our achievements. We all know that one person (we’ll call her Debby for this post) who comes out to your weekly wine night and instead of bitching with the rest of us, goes on and on about how GREAT everything is, and how her boyfriend Todd surprised her by organizing the whole pantry and leaving little self affirming notes for her to find all over the place. Good for you, Debby. Good for you. Honestly, most of the time, when Debby finally leaves early because she’s doing this new thing where she does quiet meditation before tucking into bed for a full 8.5 hours every night, the bitching turns towards how much we despise her and her positive attitude. Why can’t Debby just complain like the rest of us?! Why is Debby so positive All. The. Time.? By now you’ve probably all come up with your own jokes about Debby’s name, and “Debby downer,” so I will skip the part of the post where I make them.
If we’re being real, Debby probably does have bad days, and probably didn’t finish everything on her to-do list today. But when she takes time to think about the positives, and all she DID finish today, she’s going to feel better for it.
Obviously it feels good to complain. You can’t keep all your frustrations bottled in all the time. But maybe we should stop looking for things to complain about, and find the things to celebrate instead.
Right now, half of 2016 is over. We’ve made and abandoned our good intentions (or resolutions) for the year, and had enough time go by to build up moments where you were disappointed in what you did or didn’t do over the last 5 and a bit months. When you start thinking about all the moments where you “messed up” or dropped the ball, it’s really easy to get stuck in replay mode where you are constantly over analyzing all of your choices, or beating yourself up for what you didn’t do.
Take a break from all of that. Even if it’s just for a minute. Seriously, set a timer for one minute, and think about what you DID accomplish since the new year. What are you happy about. What’s something super cool going on in your life right this second. It doesn’t have to be big. For me, right in this moment, it’s the fact that there’s a good breeze in the air, and I have a roast cooking away in a slow-cooker. There are some bigger things I can think about as well, but it can really be that simple! Think about those things you’re appreciative for, and proud of, and think about what YOU did to achieve those things. Bask in the feeling of knowing you did it. Even if things didn’t go 100% to plan, you stuck with it, and did it!
You’ve just taken the first step to being the new Debby of your group!
Now, stay with me for one more step. This one takes longer than a minute. It takes at minimum half an hour. But you’ll probably enjoy it so much you’ll double that time easy!
Take time to do something you enjoy. Something that is just for you. Whether it’s reading a book, going fishing, baking, painting, whatever! Take time twice a week to spend time doing that thing. No distractions, just you and your thing. You’ll be a happier and more balanced person for it. If you’re thinking to yourself that you don’t have time to spend half an hour twice a week doing something “fun,” then definitely bump that time up to an hour. You have the time. You just have to make a conscious effort to make it. Have kids? Find a babysitter. Can’t afford one? I’m sure you have friends, or family that would be happy to help. Or, why not have them participate along side with you, just keep it fun and no pressure!
By now, you’re pretty close to being a fully certified “Debby”. Yay you! Don’t rub it in your friends faces, like the other Debby does. You can still gripe about your day, but try to celebrate the good things too. You’re whole group will be better for it. And you’ll feel good knowing that you DID accomplish something. Even if it was as small as keeping calm on your morning commute
This is by no means a doctor certified fool proof way to making you a better person, and you will still have your moments, but try to keep things in perspective, and you should be well on your way to a more centered life.