Humans and dogs have so many similarities that I look forward to exploring as I continue this adventure of having my first ever dog at the age of 27.
Today I want to highlight the importance of celebration, something I keep returning back to. The more deeply I explore it, the more I notice its daily positive impact on my life.
Though we should of course celebrate the big life moments, it’s really about consistently celebrating the small, everyday moments. The importance of celebrating small wins crystallized for me in the first week of raising our puppy, Leon.
The first time we took him outside, he didn’t walk, he just sat there and looked up at us with his beautiful eyes, scared as can be. The second time, he started walking. When he did, we told him how much of a good boy he was and with pride he continued to quickly move his little legs.
That’s a small thing to celebrate, right? Yes, exactly. Any positive action he takes we celebrate, as it provides the foundation for what he’s able to do next.
Let’s do one more example. In the first couple days of him being home, when he would come back into the house after a bathroom break, Leon wasn’t ready to climb the set of three stairs to get back inside. He would however put his two front paws on the first step. I celebrated him for this every time as I knew what a courageous act this must be for a puppy. That eventually led to him climbing the whole stair, and shortly thereafter, the entire set of stairs. He now rocks it with ease every time.
So why am I talking about celebrating him for the most mundane of actions? Because we want to do the same with ourselves. If we can’t celebrate ourselves for the smallest of our positive actions, we won’t have a foundation to build from.
Give yourself the compassion and praise that you would a puppy. Whatever your goals, or whatever you’re building towards, see how the smallest of actions build toward your larger target, and celebrate yourself for taking that action.
Maybe you wish to be more giving this Holiday season — you want to see that donating $1 is worth celebrating and helps you be more giving. It’s not, “Oh, it’s not even worth it until I can donate $X”, it’s doing what you can now, celebrating it, and building upon that in the future. If we don’t feel that donating what we can now is enough, we probably never will.
Start small, celebrate, repeat. Start small, celebrate, repeat.