Savor Your Wins (for little you)

Two people signing as they move about outside in the sun and grass and taken by Sarah Chai on

Usually when I cross the finish line people around me think it’s when I’ll stop worrying about the next thing I’m trying to do or finish.  The next certification, degree or milestone.  They want me to celebrate, but I’m scared and feel small when I win or accomplish.  All the striving and persistence “should” be met with celebration, but I’ve struggled with that for a long time.  I let others celebrate me.  I let my friend make mugs for my business when I launched.  I let my partner take me to dinner when I completed certification milestones.  It’s just still hard to let that settle in.  It’s hard to let my body settle.  It’s hard to celebrate crossing the finish line.  

I’ve literally crossed the finish line of half marathons only to crash into bed with a pizza.  I’ve crossed the metaphorical finish line of finishing a more than 100 page dissertation only to move on to getting licensed.  With each thing is a crashing into the next.  I feel happy.  I just also feel scared.  Like what’s my next achievement?  It doesn’t make sense.  I know this moment is what I have.  Not the next.  This moment.  I like to feel curious when things like this don’t make sense.

When was the first time I crossed a finish line and what was going on?  Well, I can remember not completing a bunch of things.  As a child, I couldn’t keep going in martial arts because I was too physically aggressive (yikes! sorry) or I didn’t complete much of my homework or I’d do it but not know to turn it in.  I remember the teacher sitting down with my mom telling her I probably can’t complete the third grade because I didn’t turn in any of my homework only to find it all in my backpack.  I just didn’t know you have to bring your homework it to the front of the classroom and put it in one of those bins!  I’d be so wrapped up in feeling like I failed and didn’t please people or wasn’t perfect.  When I finally did cross the finish line it was met with such intensity that I wouldn’t do the next thing that I really internalized that energy.  I finally started crossing finish lines when I was in middle school.  I completed my junior lifeguard program and moved onto safety aide.  I just moved from one thing to the next.  I didn’t really think more beyond the checking off of an accomplishment.  I didn’t let things settle.  

Now I have several loved ones to take the moment in with me.  I don’t cross finish lines alone anymore.  I run past the tape at the end of metaphorical races with my friends and family who helped me battle the anxieties of “will this work out?”  For example, when I crossed the finish line of completing my EMDR certification application requirements I thanked those who helped me.  I thanked a colleague who let me do EMDR with her and who helped me get into EMDR in the first place and I thanked another who helped me with my weekly nervousness around how to get enough people with the amount of energy and time I had.  I expressed gratitude to the people who helped me learn EMDR.  I expressed gratitude to my partner who endlessly stood by me with the ups and downs of learning something new.  The worst part of how grind culture shows up for me in adulthood is how I project that onto others.  

One of my best friends, my partner, taught me to savor the wins.  I learned a thousand little lessons on how to let a win or accomplishment settle.  Now when we address something together like personal debt, I want to rush onto the next area of life like getting more movement.  My partner helps me sloooooow it down and savor the amazingness we just did.  It’s been an incredibly healing journey to have a few people in my life who slowly celebrate the wins with me. I believe that our parts, including one’s inner child can feel the wins too. When we slow down and let a win really be embodied then we have a chance to honor our inner child.

This is like what I tell my patients.  If you were one of those kids who just really missed the picture, who was out there in lala land when you wanted so badly to please and be perfect then I get it.  I literally get it.  There was so much to achieve that it left you feeling you’d never win, but never stop trying.  If you felt the pains of wanting to be liked, to do better and to be invisible BUT control an outcome then know I understand.  If you felt alone with the internal strife of not measuring up or doing really well, but not as perfectly as you’d want, I get that too.  If you, like me, let your intensity to move onto the next climb, letting it all project and spew onto others, I get that too.  That was my least favorite part of this grinding onto the next thing and I want to support you in your recovery from this too.  We’ll compassionately connect to your inner child and have you knowing it’s enough to be right where you are and that feeling not okay is enough too.  

Many of us grew up thinking we missed the mark and then if we did cross a finish line we just plowed through because of grind culture and so many other layers of pressure.  Now I want you to know we can have you sending a sustainable stream of love to that sweet little one, your inner child.  Your inner child isn’t alone with this stuff anymore.  I want you to know you were enough even when you were little.  You’re enough now.  When you cross the finish line today I want to support you in the baby steps toward truly, and deeply celebrating you.  Whether that moves from crashing with a pizza to connecting through gratitude, like it did for me or whether it moves in a way that’s more authentic for you I want to hear about it. 
Reach out to let me know how you cross a finish line with kindness toward your inner child.  If you’d like to work together to love on little you in a sustainable way then reach out today!    

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