Ingredients to Create a Blissful Life #18: Acknowledge

As I pulled up this post to start writing, it surprised me to see that this is the 18th entry of Ingredients to Create a Blissful Life! It’s crazy to me how quickly time seems to move in my world anymore and this blog has become a bit of a marker system this year. And this means that I’ve already put out over 1/3 of my intended posts for this project. Wow!

This week’s ingredient was scheduled to be “Enjoy”, but something else has been playing around in my consciousness for the last while and it’s really calling to me this morning so let’s switch things up a bit. This week, let’s make our Ingredient to Create a Blissful Life: Acknowledge!

How often do you take the time to recognize something you’ve done? If you’re anything like me and a lot of the people I know (I’d even go as far as to say most of the people I know), we hit a milestone and blow right past it looking for the next thing. The next task, the next chore, the next dream… it’s as though we can’t stop, we must keep moving forward. And in doing that, we don’t ever really take the time to acknowledge what we’ve done. We don’t savour the victory and recognize how fabulous we are, and what we’re really doing is DE-valuing our accomplishment.

So take a moment now, will you? What was the last thing that happened in your world that you worked to make happen? It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but let’s think of something bigger than “I got out of bed, got dressed, and brushed my teeth!” or “I got to work on time” unless of course those are big things in your world. Maybe it’s that you’ve made a plan and stuck with it, or that you met a deadline, or even that you’ve grown and changed and aren’t the same person you were. I was talking with a friend last night about what she’s working on and what I’m working on and as I was listening to her, it dawned on me just how far she’s come in the last year. And that caused me to consider just how far I’ve come in the last year. And that made me stop and say to her that I wanted to acknowledge that for both of us.

Consider this. When we’re young and going through school, every year we get that magical piece of paper that tells us whether we’ve accomplished our goal of passing our classes and moving forward to the next level. At the end, we have a massive group celebration – a graduation – to acknowledge all of the work and effort that has gone into completing that phase of our lives. But after that, how often do we really stop and take stock of how far we’ve come? I know that we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and it’s probably important to celebrate that we kept breathing and didn’t kill each other for another whole year, but when do you really celebrate you?

So here’s my challenge to you and you can take it or leave it. It’s completely up to you. Today, or this weekend or sometime in the VERY near future, find a quiet spot for a few minutes. Bring with you a paper or a note pad and a pen. Now just consider everything that’s happened just this year that has gone un-acknowledged. Everything that you’ve accomplished that has required an effort on your part. Everything that matters in your world – and in some phases of my life, I’ll tell you, that I was upright and still moving forward and getting anything done in a day would have made this list so if that’s where you’re at, write it down. Write each of those things on your paper. When you have all of them written down, take a few moments to read through your list and acknowledge each and every thing you wrote because the truth is that it really doesn’t matter the specifics, and it really doesn’t matter what anyone else might think of any of it. What matters is that it matters to you and what’s really important is that you acknowledge that you’re here, that YOU did that, and that it matters.

Now, if you want to have some fun, let yourself be silly. Take your list, find some pretty note paper or cards or something and maybe some stickers. Do you remember how good it felt to get a paper back from the teacher with a gold star? Why not give yourself one now? Make a little note for each of the things you’re acknowledging and give yourself a sticker or a stamp or write in big red letters “GREAT JOB” or A+ or whatever you like as long as it’s positive. Now take them and fold them up and put them in something – a pretty box, or a mason jar that lets you see all the colours and all the pieces of paper. Whatever tickles your fancy.

Now here’s the challenge. Whenever you meet another milestone, hit another target, accomplish something that matters to you, do the same thing. Stop and acknowledge, take the time to write it down and add it to your jar or your box.

Now what will you do with them? Well that’s up to you. My plan? I’m going to open my box on January 1st and read through each and every one of them and take a moment to acknowledge whatever I wrote down. After that, I’m not sure. I may burn them to send the messages up to Heaven or I may make a book of accomplishments like a scrapbook or something. I think it would be neat to have something to look at when I get old that celebrates each year of my life and helps me remember. You can do whatever you like – you can even do nothing. It’s completely up to you. You can acknowledge and celebrate who you are, what you’re doing, and how you’re growing or you can let it slip by as you move on to the next thing. I know what I’m going to do.

What do you choose?

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