Monday, August 1, 2011

One Step Forward

All of personal growth feels like it's one step forward and then one back. It's not a linear thing. It zigs and zags and leaves us feeling like we are catching up. I can feel so confident one minute and then completely sucker-punched the next, as I fall back into old patterns which I am trying to move past. It can be extremely frustrating.

A friend recently reminded me to extend the kind of grace to myself that I would give to someone I love without even thinking about it. This was excellent advice. The nature of growth is that it hurts as it stretches, and only after a hell of a lot of work does it become an implemented part of our life. Mistakes go with this territory, and I must give myself continual permission to fail on the way to improving myself for the long term.

The fact that I can recognize this at all is improvement. I'm no longer quite as blind to what I'm doing, and that in itself speaks of progress. I tend to feel butterflies in my stomach, and I experience a quiet discontent which alerts me to the fact that something is off. Now I need to remind myself not to react immediately. Patience is one of the greatest gifts we have, if we will remember to unwrap it slowly and wait until we are calmer to respond.

I seem to feel rushed when I am being drawn into a situation or an emotion which makes me uncomfortable. Probably this is because I want to regain my equilibrium and get back to my newfound confidence and certainty, but rushing isn't the way to do it. That's how the mistakes get made. Our world moves at the speed of light with communication and smart phones and a sense of being reachable 24/7. Just because I can respond instantly doesn't mean I have to.

Grace is always the answer, for ourselves and for others. Getting it perfect is not the goal. Being open to listen to our emotions and making decisions which are healthy for us is much better in the long run. I find it hard to be gentle with myself, but like so much of this life, it's a learning curve and a work in progress. I'm grateful to wake up each morning and have more chances to practice these skills, and to know myself just a little better, and to inch closer to the sort of person I most long to be.

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