Celebrating Everyday Successes

I’m absurdly proud of myself. I successfully changed both headlights in my Honda Civic.*

Look, I get it: changing headlights is something mechanics can do in their sleep and probably something nonmechanics can do without a second thought. Not for me. This was my first time changing the headlights and I felt like I’d accomplished something when I was done.

Reaching the driver’s side bulb involves maneuvering around other important car parts.
The job meant moving the power steering reservoir and washer fluid cap on the driver’s side AND freeing one side of the battery tie down bar so I could move it on the passenger side. Again, these are probably simple things for the car aficionado, but that’s not who I am.

As proof of that, I offer that both of my headlights were out. No, they didn’t go out at the same time – that may have pointed to a larger mechanical problem. The driver’s side light had been out for a month or so and I was/am just lazy enough to let it ride until the next time I took the car in for an oil change.

Sound theory until the passenger bulb was tired of pulling more than its share of weight and told me so by forcing me to drive one night with the high beams. Yes, I was that person.

Anyway, when I closed the hood, I was happy at what I’d done. I did it myself, albeit with some help from the Internet and the car’s manual.

It made me think that I (and maybe some of you) are all too quick to berate ourselves when things go wrong — Stupid Tammy didn’t take care of her driver’s side headlight — and all too slow to feel good about when things go right. Even little things.

Someone else wouldn’t have thought twice about changing the bulbs, but I’m the one who got it done. Just like I’m the one who did an excellent job mowing the grass the other day and I’m the one who keeps the house in clean clothes and dishes. Ordinary things, but getting them done makes the house look better and makes life better. It’s okay to celebrate these everyday successes.

And it’s okay to take pride in these little accomplishments even if (perhaps especially if) you’re the one who caused the mess in the first place.

So on days when you feel like the world’s worst employee or parent or child or whatever, take a moment and look at what you did that day. Did you make the bed when you got up? Good job. Is the lawn mowed? You’re awesome. Did you attempt something you’ve never done before? You go, girl. Did that something actually turn out as you hoped? It’s a gold star for you.

*If success can be defined as 90% complete as I haven’t been able to reconnect the battery tie down bar without a third hand. Besides, it looks like the strap should be replaced, and I may just be the person to do it! Go back

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