Okay, so there I was excitedly writing another epic edition to my self-kindness journey, and then this reality check cropped up. This is truth speak! I slipped and fell into that dreadful habit of becoming consumed with this desire for everything in life to be 100% right. I did this. I admit I did it automatically and unconsciously without doing all the work needed to change. All the while, I was drowning in unrealistic expectations. As a result, I am angry; actually, I am disappointed. I have to admit that this is not an instant virtual reality where everything is utterly blissful. This life is real, and not some sitcom we are watching. This entire living thing is about getting my hands dirty while climbing mountains and running in forests. It is honest to goodness living, and it is beautifully messy. Now that we have established that, let’s deal with this and then get back to it.
I am not giving up. I am learning how to set realistic milestones and finally understanding that expectations need to have limits.
The biggest reason I end up giving up when I am busy changing is because of the pressure I relentlessly apply. I have realised that I drown myself in overwhelming expectation and at the end of it, I crumble! This repeated breaking down is happening daily. Even more than that, it’s beginning to feel like this breaking is happening hourly! I have got to realise that I will stumble, fall and even fail. That is an absolute truth. So please apply this honesty with compassion before you read any further. Apply it to me and do yourself a favour, apply it to yourself too.
This reality check hit me so hard this morning I ended up crying in the shower. Yep, that horrible ugly cry that can only actually happen when one is willing to weep alone, and you got to let the hot shower water wash away those dreadful tears. And why am I feeling this way, you ask? Well, because I keep setting the bar so high, I can’t reach it. If I do get it by chance, my hands don’t grip tight enough, and then I slip and fall. I finally realised that this reality is more relevant when I actively start to change than before deciding to make changes.
I have almost 41years of learned behaviour to understand, change, and sometimes I have to develop new ones. I expect myself to be the person I am working towards immediately. The result, I am actively treating myself cruelly and unrealistically.
Do we expect babies to come out the womb able to walk, talk and self-care? Absolutely not! We teach them, we care for and nurture them through every single experience. We practise patience with them, we show them kindness, and we apply continuous love. It’s natural to assume we would offer ourselves the same treatment, but do we really? As much as I treat people with a lot of love and kindness, I am also guilty of being less than kind when I am disappointed in myself. I admit I am less than loving to those I love the most when I cannot be that unattainable version of perfect. I have realised that I project my expectations on them, making them accountable for my shortcomings. This is one of those things I need to change. I need to change it because I don’t want to punish my loved ones when I feel less than adequate.
I don’t know who taught me to be this way. I definitely don’t want to point fingers, and I certainly won’t hold anyone hostage for this because that is equally as cruel. Maybe it’s a collection of understandings or misunderstandings; whatever it is, it needs to stop and return it to wherever it came from. I can’t keep punishing myself for not being “good enough”, and I can’t keep lashing out because the bar is so high no one can reach it.
This is that part of growth where I forgive, and this is that place in life where I get to put this lesson to work and not allow it to be a burden that stops growth.
I have had to ask myself why this keeps happening; I’ve realised that I am trying to climb the cliff face of my existence without being adequately equipped. It is not as though I am ill-equipped, I have all the pieces I need, but that doesn’t mean I know how to use it all. I have to accept that I am still in training and learning how to use that which I can access. In reality, I am at the beginning phases of building myself up.
Think about it, when you decide you want to go rock climbing, you start at the beginning. You train, you correct habits; you change your diet, you adapt your mindset. You start small, go for hikes, go to wall climbing classes, and get a coach. You most certainly don’t climb Kilimanjaro before you are sure you are ready.
I genuinely want to take the time necessary to do this right and not rush it. With this in mind, I think I owe myself an apology. I have to commit to doing this one day at a time. I must allow myself to access the resources God has so lovingly equipped me with. I can’t keep stumbling around, hoping for the best. And I acknowledge I will have to learn how to apply existing knowledge and this new understanding to grow. And I also need to rely on those that have allowed me to depend on them. Honestly, I also need to allocate more time to spend with God; He is my most fantastic teacher after all. Today, at this very moment, I am making a conscious decision to listen to my instincts while simultaneously allowing mistakes to happen to learn from them.
Clarity Admission. I slip because I want to skip steps, and now that I am aware that this is the biggest flaw in my plan, I can take each action with a lot more courage and enthusiasm.
Theme Song: Des’ree – You Gotta Be!