WELCOME to the world of ONE AWESOME THING! Last week two things happened:
One: I went to a Weight Watchers Meeting. I haven't lost any weight for a year but I have grown addicted to going, even if my reverse body dysmorphia says, "hey man, no worries, you're fine". I get tired of shooting for a number all the time, I started just going for a "feeling". Every week I listen and talk about feelings of either greatness about accomplishments surrounding the act of eating and having food "around", or complete and utter shame. Sometimes it's just half shame and half frustration with an expected dose of confusion thrown in. These feelings fill us up and we are there for the empathy that fills the room, as we dig deep to console or come up with new ideas to eradicate this week's failures and then our celebrations of the opposite of failures. The language of shame can be intense.
One time, I felt so bad that I ate the whole chocolate bunny, thereby sabotaging my dream of being thin, I couldn't see the value of going further by even trying to keep trying. I hit the chocolate bunny wall of shame.
Every week I come in thinking, "man I screwed up (this or that)" until my awesome Weight Watchers leader turns it around and says, "You're talking to yourself too harshly, you're being a little hard on yourself!" and then congratulates us for coming up with the idea to douse the next chocolate bunny with dish soap. She is a beacon of all that is right with this program and even she can't get between me and my own esteem.
Two: "SOMETIMES the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." I read this quote when I was googling something about school tests, the wikipedia page on Socialism, a recipe for Moroccan Lamb, a picture of a baby hedgehog licking a window, and somehow landed on an image search of Dr. Seuss. In a sea of motivational quotes, this one stood out and I had a strong moment of clarity. So I made a crude mock-up of my GRAND EPIPHANY with my self-taught InDesign skillzez and called three of my most trusted friends. Then a fourth. Then my husband. They all lit up in a way that made me think, maybe we're on to something friends and husband! Then it was like, "LET's DOO THIS!"
And that's how One Awesome Thing was born: It's SO simple! The idea is this: Write down the one awesome thing you did today. Did you feel discouraged and then say, "Screw that, I'm going do it anyway?". Did you make a small dream come true by taking the first step? Did you bring your sneakers to work? Did you say no to something? Did you say YES to something? Did you eat one piece of cheese and then put the rest away (I thought this was an awesome thing) or not buy the cheese in the first place? Did you download the Couch to 5K app and then do it? Did you hop back on that hobby horse after you thought you couldn't screaming FTW!!!!" It doesn't need to be huge. You never think it is anyway until you see the effect it can have on everything else you do. It doesn't need to be just one thing. Sometimes a little avalanche of awesome things happen because you did one awesome thing.
In conceiving One Awesome Thing, I had a flash, like the book by the Dalai Lama that I only read like, a quarter of, that if we could just think of the one awesome thing we did today, especially when we think we haven't done anything right, and if we write that thing down, maybe it can propel us into a better day tomorrow, or making the choices we really want to make. Whether it's your perilous journey to get your weight down and the better health that goes with it, your taxes, overcoming grief, doing work a project you really want to do, just getting out of bed some mornings, taking shame out of your daily language and replacing it with the little accomplishments you've made happen, seemed like a great idea. I also have the cohones to believe that maybe this tiny thing can help us to evolve shame out of our lives. It's such a useless component in an otherwise short span on earth. Sometimes the old adage telling us to "take things a day at a time" isn't quite right. Sometimes it's an hour at a time, sometimes it's minute by minute. Sometimes we need a step before that one little step. I am believing that this is the step.
I hear and see our species, my friends, women mostly, talking with such shame fervor about themselves, it makes me think it's endemic. Thinking of all the ways they've failed themselves that day, that week, that weekend, that night. Sometimes they use their own shame to shame others. Sometimes it's just catching, a way we think we can relate to each other, a method of showing humility, a tribal-born empathy and repulsion both, that catches us all up. Maybe when we're our own worst critic, we are everyone else's worst critic too. I am tired of the inner critic, I want to be an inner encourager.
This "leaning in" to The Awesome Things we do EVERY DAY can help us to realize the great steps we already are taking to being better to ourselves, to not sabotaging ourselves, to not giving in to the shame of old habits, old roadblocks. WE'RE ALREADY DOING IT, we just have to learn better how to recognize it. When I tossed the whole box of Girl Scout Cookies and started writing a few words on this blog and then cleaned off the table so I could actually do my taxes, and then bought myself a beautiful set of watercolors during Dick Blick's Sale, and then called a friend for help, I discovered that seeing all those little awesome things I did for myself are bigger awesome things in the making...and the road to being better to everyone around me.
So write this down: WHAT'S ONE AWESOME THING YOU DID TODAY. And answer it. Try it for a full week. See how it makes you feel. Let me know if it works. Send me your awesome notes. Post them on twitter and instagram #oneawesomething. Put them on our new Facebook Page and share with your friends: