4.5
August 4, 2016

I Set Out to Change—& I Failed.

girl woman sad depression face

This isn’t the article I’m supposed to be writing.

In June, I discovered (and had it pointed out to me many, many times) that I was a busy-addict—a junkie hooked on constant movement, plans and to-do lists, afraid to sit with my emotions.

I realized I was on the run from feelings, namely, being alright with feeling sadness.

I wrote about this all and immediately set out on a plan of action. I would promptly change, learn to be okay with tumultuous soul-searching and waves of emotion. Then I would tap out an article about the new, fresh, healthier me and regale my readers with tips on how to embark on such a journey themselves.

Yesterday I realized that I’ve spent two months struggling with the same “busyness” issue, trying and failing to slow down, attempting (and not succeeding) to be more organized, streamlined, calm.

I still lack the ability to sit in peace with the residual sadness that haunts me. The conversation I had with my partner, before falling asleep last night, was about how I planned on having a slower day today. Success? Well, it’s not yet noon and I haven’t paused to breathe, so not really.

I decided I would write a piece, then, on how failing was really a positive thing, and googled some famous motivational lines about falling short of the mark. From Thomas Edison’s “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10 000 ways that won’t work” to Michael Jordan’s “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. What I can’t accept is not trying again.” There are some wonderful words out there, but none of them struck that chord in my heart.

If I really sit still (this is hard) and ponder for a moment, the noises that arise about my last two months are unpleasant. Discomfort. Disappointment. Grief. And, there it is: simple sadness, my melancholy friend.

What do we do now?

When we set out with a goal—a goal to have less goals, ironically—and we find ourselves, two months down the road, still fighting the exact same battle, we can easily feel flooded with negativity. In my own journey, as my undoubtedly harshest critic, I default to berating myself whilst busying my mind and body with the next onslaught of tasks, chores, lists.

The point here, though, is not to ruminate on the failure, but to step into actual change, so I’ve been forced to dig deeper, to see what progress I can salvage from a seeming failure.

What ideas can I share with readers going through similar experiences?

One thing, in my unpleasant, self-forced pause, has jumped out at me: awareness.

I may not have achieved stillness, or silence or peace, but I’ve become more self-aware. By penning these words, by opening discussion with friends and family on the topic of change and struggle, I’ve learned I’m not alone in these challenges, and definitely not alone in my avoidance of those scary, daunting things: feelings.

Perhaps, with this awareness, I’ll be able to catch myself between tasks and remember to breathe, to pause, to be present with the moment. One moment at a time.

As my wise sister so eloquently put it: “change is hella hard.”

I didn’t achieve an elegant transformation, but I got to know myself and those around me a little better, and maybe that is a step in the right direction.

I failed in achieving my goal, and I’m completely okay with that, today.

~

Author: Keeley Milne

Image: Chaoskitteh/Deviantart

Editor: Toby Israel

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