The importance of everyday triumphs

SARAH MACDONALD
Last updated 14:08 19/03/2013
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TINY TRIUMPHS: "We need to celebrate small victories - even if only to break free from the spiral of negativity."

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Am I the only one who feels we are living in a time of hysteria kicked along by a culture of complaint? 

Our religious institutions are supposedly crumbling, with much coverage of the papal enclave using the phrase "Catholicism in crisis". Meanwhile, our other great church - sport - is in "chaos"; with its gods stood down and investigated for possibly cheating with drugs (cyclists and footballers) or being juvenile jerks (swimmers).

Thankfully, I prefer netball, which, for now at least, is scandal free.

It's hard to stay calm even if you don't believe the hype. Even a lover of political intrigue, satire and a major drama queen like me finds it wearing.

All the endless adrenalin depletes the system and the brutality of public debate is depressing. Not to mention the manufactured outrage.

Perhaps our expectations are too large or our desire to pull people down is too great. Either way, the degradation of public life seems like an endless slide into the dark side of our psyche.

In some ways I'm glad we are starting to expect better behaviour from society's winners. It's about time our leaders and stars were called to account for corruption, hypocrisy and bad behaviour.

But to keep myself calm in the chaos, I also like to consider those who are decent and giving, caring and compassionate, and all too often ignored.

These include the childcare workers and teachers who help us raise our kids, the nurses who look after our bodies when we are vulnerable and ill. They are the police and social workers fighting paedophilia and crime, and the architects who design buildings that lift our spirits and tread softly upon the earth.

There are the writers who hurt our hearts and challenge our minds, and the scientists and doctors who search for solutions to disease.

They are the volunteers who work with the vulnerable, the foster parents who take in troubled kids and the local church ministers who feed the poor. All people committed to bettering the world and the lives of others.

These are all big jobs with a small profile. But whatever we do, whoever we are, life is full of small daily triumphs that are also easily overlooked.

As the pace of change increases, we often feel like we are running to stand still. On such days I find my finest achievement can be keeping up and not falling face first.

In such moments we need to celebrate small victories - even if only to break free from the spiral of negativity.

When we see the wealthiest in our society at war with their family, we should celebrate being together (or apart) in a loving way. At a time when mental illness is on the rise we should celebrate those battling to get or stay well.

In a time of intense competition and fast-tracked childhoods we should celebrate collaboration and those who slow down to enjoy the journey of life.

It's actually life affirming to focus on small, everyday triumphs.

To celebrate what we did well, with love, kindness and compassion. Or the thrill we receive seeing others succeed with integrity intact. If we don't cling to these small celebrations, life can be too overwhelming.

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I'd love to hear yours, but here are some small yet significant triumphs I've recently had; my revelations of joy.

- The thrill of seeing my niece take her first steps; the waddle looked like a cross between an angel and a drunk.

- Watching my daughter ride to school on her own for the first time; her face lit up with the thrill of independence, strength, pride and an enthusiasm for taking on the world.

- Hearing about a friend's ability to finally take on her bullying boss.

- The autistic child I watched calm himself with deep breaths to avoid a meltdown.

- The woman I saw at the shops bend to help a fallen old man; tenderly, calmly, with care and love.

- My partner's ability to come home after a shocking day, throw off his bad mood and be tender to those he loves.

- My triumph in running twice around an oval without dying.

It's small moments in life that make a whole. Ways of living that don't involve lying, cheating or belittling others. These are the moments that make a sweet life. If not a great one.

I'd love to hear more. Over to you ... What's an everyday success that you celebrate?

- Daily Life

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