When I was in the bleary eyed state of being a brand new mom, I was convinced I would never successfully leave the house before 10am ever again. As I dove into this ever changing rhythm (and all the equipment that goes with it), I began offering myself mental trophies for any small, personal successes that felt pretty momentous. Got somewhere within 20 minutes of the start time with a newborn in tow? Trophy! Showered? Trophy! Left the house? Trophy! Made it through a rough day? All the trophies!
Now, luckily, leaving the house isn’t quite as hard as it once was, but I’ve held onto my practice of giving out mental trophies. It’s enabled me to honor the hard things, big and small, I’ve accomplished throughout my day that would otherwise go unnoticed. This habit soon spread to how I encouraged my friends during their challenging or mundane seasons as well. Had that hard conversation you’ve been avoiding? Trophy! Journaled even when you didn’t feel like it because you knew it would be good for you? Trophy! Took a nap because your body need it? Trophy! Meal prepped so you wouldn’t have quesadillas all week? Trophy! Ditched the to-do list to enjoy the moment in front of you? Trophy!
We can be so critical of ourselves, noticing where we didn’t measure up rather than where we made an impact, or more importantly, how we were present to our day. Handing out trophies has been a playful way I have embraced my limitations and honored my successes. It’s been a redirect away from my perfectionist and pleaser tendencies towards self-compassion and celebration. Mental trophies have helped me reframe that asking for help is good, healthy, and trophy-worthy, too. It’s a reminder we can do hard things, whether that thing is unloading dishwasher or presenting in front of a conference, it doesn’t much matter. And sometimes our trophy moments shift from day to day, season to season. The best part of trophies - they are unlimited! There is enough space to honor all of our successes without criteria or competition.
What are your trophies today?