It Does Count
[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text"] “It doesn’t count. Or does it?”
I wrote this simple line in my journal this morning as I was thinking about my daily intention of connecting with at least one person a day. I’d written a thank you note using Facebook Messenger and while the sentiment was heartfelt and connective, I questioned whether this small act could “count” towards the daily practice that I’m trying to cultivate.
It occurred to me that I’ve had this thought a lot lately and realized that this seemingly innocent statement was turning into a weapon of mass self-destruction. Instead of noticing the progress that I was making, I’ve been spending energy and effort arguing with myself about whether or not my small turtle step actions actually mean anything – as if there is a magical equation that quantifies just what does count as “big enough.”
Maybe you’ve got a similar statement that is playing on repeat in your mind?
Things like: I didn’t really do that much. I wasn’t all that productive. It wasn’t enough.
So I did what I know how to do. I started to question my thought. Inquiry around limiting beliefs can be very in-depth, but sometimes a few simple questions are all it takes to dislodge a sticky thought. I quite literally had a conversation with myself in my journal. (This practice of questioning thoughts is inspired by The Work by Byron Katie.)
Here is what I wrote:
Who am I with the thought “It doesn’t count”? Simply put, I judge myself. I make myself feel small and am not satisfied. I compare my actions to those of others and start to lose sight of my purpose and intention.
Ok then, who am I without the thought? Since you asked so nicely – without the thought I am compassionate with myself. I notice progress, feedback, and what is working at any given moment. I feel hopeful about possibilities. (And yes, if you are wondering...I do “talk back” to myself in my journal.)
Slowly, the impact of “it doesn’t count” starts to lessen.
Since I know that thought dissolving requires (or is deepened by) alternative possibilities, I considered the opposite of “it doesn’t count.”
It does count. How do I know it counts? What evidence can I find from my life to show that there is some truth to this new thought?
Well...for starters, I know in my heart that this is true. Even though I always intend to practice my morning page journal time first thing in the morning, sometimes I get to it much later in the morning. And yet, I still write the three pages. So yup, that counts.
Another example is when I intend to make time for my home yoga practice but only get to my mat for 5-10 minutes. Ok then, I still showed up on my mat, right? So yup – that counts too.
And if I want to use the example of the virtual thank you note as part of my daily practice to reach out to one person per day...my words were genuine and heartfelt and there was an exchange of sentiment and connection. So yup, as far as I can see – that counts too.
The more I thought about it, the more other new possibilities started to emerge. I do count. My thoughts don’t count. Nothing counts. It all counts.
It DOES count.
Yes, small steps – what Martha Beck likes to call "turtle steps" – do count. Acknowledging small steps as progress isn’t about ignoring reality or making excuses.
Will my practice around connecting with other people grow by leaps and bounds if I only write thank you notes each day? No.
Could I have picked up the phone and reached out to someone? Yes.
Will focusing on my breathing in 5 gentle restorative poses help me build my core strength to strengthen my inversion practice? No.
But for today, it does count. My simple acts had meaning and purpose.
Why “It does count” matters
The more I can stay focused on noticing what is going right, even in microscopic form – the more I can stay true to what is my heart and show up as myself.
The more I can show up as myself, the more I can focus on my intentions to embrace the shine, trust the reflection, radiate abundance, and practice exuberance.
Because it is when I start to discount my actions and feelings and ponder whether I did “enough” that my energy shifts away from my purpose and towards judgment.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be compassionate and notice progress instead of judgment instead of feeling continually dissatisfied.
So...what about you. What “it does count” credit can you give yourself today?