“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Monday, 16 May 2011

Relishing Small Victories

I'm not usually superstitious, but last Friday (the 13th) I got two pieces of bad news - not heart-shaking or life-changing, but two bits of news I didn't want to hear. And it got me down. In fact it made me feel quite sorry for myself, and hence self-centred. Thanks to the timely wisdom and compassion of a friend, I managed to get myself back into a healthier head-space, and not take my disappointment out on anyone else.

But it made me wonder about how vulnerable we all are to the rollercoaster that is life (to coin a cliche). We often lack the spiritual resilience to roll with the punches and to bounce back from small disappointments. I think we need to learn to be on the lookout for small things that go right, rather than beating ourselves up about every tiny little thing that goes wrong. At least I do. One of my favourite sources of spiritual wisdom is the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. In this context, I'm particularly thinking of the lines

"Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans" and

"Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself"

Luckily for me, I was able to enjoy an achievement this morning - I ran a hilly 3 miles in 31:30, which for me was immensely satisfying. Running has this ability to take me out of my everyday preoccupations and make me concentrate more purely on relishing small victories - on a bad running day, just getting round the course is enough, on a good day, when I run a good time (for me) it's great. But either way, every run represents a small victory that I can take pleasure in. I know that I am so blessed to have this resource. For other people, it may be sorting socks into pairs, or cooking a perfect omelette, or the first time your child manages to do up their own shoes - doesn't matter what it is, so long as we are aware that we have achieved something, and take time out to celebrate that.


  1. absolutely Sue...I call that living in love...knock backs and dissapointments come every day, the key is how one responds to them...for me it is no longer about sinking into self pity, well not for too long and instead responding in faith and love and moving beyond the confines of myself to that greater reality...What Forrest Church has described as that which is "Greater than all and yet present in each"

  2. "We often lack the spiritual resilience to roll with the punches and to bounce back from small disappointments."

    I think you hit the nail on the head there Sue. Too often we fall into a bit of a funk because we get discouraged and can't see the way out. Thanks for the reminder that it's often the way we deal with these disappointments that matter and not the disappointments themselves.