I am a work in progress and I’m okay with that.
I know and accept that none of us will ever be finished.
Yep, sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but there will always be more for us to learn—life lessons, new skills, how to get a flat stomach without doing sit-ups.
Even when we’re old and decrepit, we’ll still have more stuff to come to terms with—hopefully not incontinence pads, but that’s a possibility.
And the greater certainty of our impending mortality is guaranteed.
But I think that’s okay.
I believe making peace with this crucial point in our journey. Learning to accept our imperfection. Believing that we are complete enough as we are right now. Trusting that we are where we need to be right now, learning whatever we need in order to move forward. Accepting, believing and trusting all of this. For real.
Some days I can do this. Some days I struggle with it. When I do, my way back is to remind myself, I am a work in progress, and that is okay.
Hey, I do know this self-kindness lark is easier said than done.
It takes practice. But I believe it serves us better than allowing our inner critic to run rampant. We need to get better at telling that git to pipe down and give us a break. We need to get better at acknowledging all the progress we are making.
I am making progress. I do my best to live each day conscious that where I am is a result of my past thoughts, words and deeds. Aware that where I’m going is being shaped right now. I do my best, but sometimes I forget. Sometimes I slip into old mindless habits. Two steps forward, one step back.
That is the dance of life, is it not?
When I’m in a good place I treat others with kindness and respect. When I’m in a good place I am kind and respectful to myself. When I am stressed and anxious I am less kind and less mindful. But I do notice this slip and I chastise myself suitably “Must do better, Hilda, must do better!”
Then I recognize that I am being unloving to me, and I bring myself back to that kinder space.
I do this through meditation, reading something inspiring, walking in nature or just going for a cup of coffee and watching the world go by. Sometimes I return to a better place instantly. Sometimes it takes longer. When I can’t shrug it off easily, I get even kinder to myself: I take the afternoon off, I light the fire and watch TV, I take a nap, I go for a massage.
I tune in and ask myself what do I need right now. And I listen.
That is tremendous progress. There was a time when I would just keep piling the pressure on, should-ing all over myself, and trying to meet the demands I wasn’t mentally or spiritually equipped to deal with, until it would feel like my head was going to explode.
Not anymore. Now I do the best I can on any given day. Some days will be more productive than others. But the productive days are always grounded in mental clarity and spiritual enthusiasm. I have learned that these are vital, and when I notice they are absent I seek the reason why and a way to retrieve them.
After spending most of my adult life living within my comfort zone, I am now willing to step out of it every now and again. I have sometimes let fear of other people’s opinions hold me back, but more and more now I let that go and do what feels good and right for me in the moment.
I believe that each of us holds immense power and responsibility in shaping how we experience every event in our lives. And for my part, I have stopped blaming others for any source of discontent. (Well, mostly. Maybe not always. But I’m working on it.)
I am grateful for all the good in my life, both people and experiences. And I am grateful for the lessons I learned from less savory events. (But I do hope not to repeat the painful lessons or experiences again!)
I know that those whom we judge are mirrors of ourselves, and I am learning the art of forgiveness and non-judgement—of myself and others. It’s an ongoing process. I won’t pretend that it’s easy. It’s not.
And I am mindful that our time here is not only limited but also uncertain.
So I live the best life that I can right now. Because that’s all that I can do. That is all any of us can ever do.
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Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock