Step by step (ooo baby)
I had a more lengthy post planned for tonight, but I fell asleep on the couch catching up on "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia". My wife and I enjoy our downtime together when the kids are sleeping, but there are some shows that I love that she "just can't", and that's one of them. It's all good, I hope to never lose my juvenile sense of humour. I'm not the tittering at a "and then I said" joke at a cocktail party type anyways. I'd much rather laugh at things like Danny Devito in his underwear stuck inside a children's playground.
Today was a pretty fun day.
I got a workout in and made a new friend at the gym simply by introducing myself to someone I'd never talked to before. Very nice guy. In reading a really life changing book recently, one of the perspectives that stuck out in it to me was "be first." Instead of sitting around wishing and waiting that I met more new people and made more idle chit chat, I now go introduce myself and make the chit-chat myself. No matter how against the grain it is for me, I now try to always go first.
We got to spend some time with the kids friends at a birthday party this morning. My middle kid always played at daycare with a boy whose parents are some of the nicest people out there, and all it took to further the friendship and connection for her was to step outside of my comfort zone and introduce myself. One step at a time.
I got to pay forward all the kindness I've been shown in past problems with my house and help a friend out with a leaky basement at his place. I'm naturally one of the least handy people out there because my dad never even owned a set of tools, but over three years of listening to a parade of experts come through my own basement I actually learned a ton and was able to put it to good use today.
Pretty much me today.
I got an opportunity to help my six year old with processing her feelings and regulating her emotions, and we definitely connected at a place of understanding. We played a bunch of games at an arcade this morning and she won a cheap toy, and then broke it within thirty minutes of getting home. The shock and devastation was equal parts cute and heartbreaking. In classic dad mode, once we got through the why and the how of her feelings, I was able to take her back to the arcade and get three more for her and her siblings because I didn't let her spend all of her tickets the first time around. Tight fist dad mode for the win!
One of the really cool outcomes of placing a bigger emphasis on gratitude in my daily life has been to start recognizing the little wins, and relishing them.
Having severe anxiety, the natural reaction previously had been to doubt and beat myself up at every opportunity. Second guess things I said. Question how my tone came across. Wonder if some minute change would've created a better outcome. Insert my own meaning in looks, tone, reactions, things unsaid. Living so far in my own head that I went from a reliable free throw shooter to a bad one in the game of life.
Ceasing looking for ways to be self-critical, and instead entirely changing my lens to look for things to celebrate in order to find the joy in everyday life has truly been more effective than any diet or workout plan in terms of inserting lightness in my mood and a bounce in my step.
By owning the shitty things that happened or were happening in my life, doing what I can to control their existence, outcome, or course, and then setting them free I am now able to celebrate the small and large victories happening in and around me on a daily basis. Two perspectives that have helped emphasize this shift in thinking came from Joe Rogan - "be the hero of your own movie" and Kanye West (surprisingly) - "I gotta cheer for me before anyone else can cheer for me."
Kanye's living room. I shit you not.
I've finally owned all the shitty things that I've said to myself as my own worst critic, because I finally figured out why I said them. I spent so many years feeling unloved, not cared for, not supported, not wanted. I can now enjoy the small wins and the crucial moments and feel like I belong. I am cheering for me and letting others cheer for me too as a result.
As someone whose been in life's lowest points and emerged on the other side, I just want to remind everyone reading this that they can be good to themselves despite the bad, frustrating, or annoying things happening in their lives. No one else is criticizing you as harshly as you're criticizing yourself. So you need to celebrate your own wins too, because if you leave that to others to do for you, you're going to miss out on many of your successes.
Like Jerry Springer always said at the end of every show, "take care of yourself, and each other."
With it being January, I read a lot of people all over social media claiming a goal or a change or a success as their own, but lamenting that they have no idea where to begin; while often mentioning all of their past failures at this desired outcome.
There's only one way to do it. And that's step by step. By owning everything in their world, and making the changes they need to get to where they want to go. There are no magic "finger snap" fixes in life, no matter how bad Thanos wanted there to be one.
Step by step. Take ownership for everything in your day. Celebrate the good. Manage and mitigate the bad. Enjoy every moment. Even the Mondays. Step by step.