Written by Julie Campbell, WLLC 2015-2016
From the time we are little, we are taught that we should all love ourselves and our accomplishments. But most adults only emphasize praising the big accomplishments in life, like passing a test, graduating, or getting accepted into college. But sometimes the little things in life are the most exciting, even if just for a fleeting moment. Huge accomplishments, while incredibly important, are usually few and far between. The little accomplishments, or even things that just make you excited, happen all the time, and those are the things that everyone forgets about the next day. It’s so important to remember those things during the tough parts in life because life is made of the little things.
When I started the jar of awesome, it was strange to force myself to write down the little things that I did well or that made me smile throughout the day. There was one day where I realized my calculator could solve integrals for me, and it made me so happy, so I wrote it down. At the end of each day, I opened up my jar and read what was in it. Even if I had a bad day, going back and looking at what I had accomplished or what made me smile really helped me realize that even though not every day is great, there are great parts in every day. Writing all of this down made me gracious for what I have done in my life, not unthankful for what I haven’t done. Gratitude is all about “the willingness to recognize the unearned increments of value in one’s experience (Counting Blessings VS. Burdens).” This practice helped people recognize that the small, good things in life are what you should be grateful for.
For me, not taking the time to appreciate the little things in life usually brings out the shadows that everyone has inside. Taking the time to practice gratitude helps me to control the shadowy parts like my “angry self (Shadowy Parts Worksheet #1).” Because I take the time to stop and think about everything that’s going well, it keeps me happier, and my “ungrateful self (Shadowy Parts Worksheet #1) doesn’t get to come out and play with my emotions.
To me, this practice was all about gratitude. It was more gratitude for yourself and what you can do as an individual, and that is very important because a lot of people forget to be thankful of what they can do. “Moments of positive emotion can be beneficial to the individual experiencing them (Witnessing Excellence in Action),” and this practice really helps people look back at the positive moments in their lives and reflect on them.