There were so many times in my life, before walking this path, that I would say never again. And yet, I would repeat those same behaviors over and over, even the ones I knew were self-destructive and were taking down an even darker road than I was already on. My attitude, always, was, well if I’ve already messed up this little bit I might as go whole hog and hit the “f*ck it button.” There was no middle ground, I was either doing great, or down in the dumps, I gave myself no room for anything in between. Living within those tight parameters I was setting myself up to fail, most of the time, and truthfully that’s where my head wanted me, to constantly be failing so I would increasingly get worse and think there was no way out. But there was.
When I finally fell to my knees and was able ask for help, I was told it takes time to break old habits and to begin a new way of life, and that even if I made mistakes, or failed in my opinion, that was part of the recovery process. That I had to wrap my head around. Failure was part of the process? Well, the truth was, it wasn’t really “failure,” it was all just part of the process, something I had to learn as I fell and got back up again. I also learned that those falls were where I learned the most, so they, for me, were an essential part of the process. I had to find comfortabililty in the gray areas between what I viewed as “right” or “wrong.” Being OK in the gray wasn’t easy at first because the minute I wasn’t perfect at this new way of life and slipped back into old behaviors or patterns, that negative bullshit committee in my head would pipe up and say, “see, you can’t do it!” In fact, they would scream it. And, I had to learn to say, “you’re lying, I can, watch me.”
Change takes time. It takes of trying, over and over again, until it becomes less effort. Until it becomes a part of who you are and not something you have to think about anymore. You are going to fail, or fall, or make mistakes, that’s part of making changes, but the important thing is to not give up, to keep going, to do better next time, or try again. Don’t put those parameters on yourself and say never again, you may do it again, you may do it many times before you stop doing it, and even when you stop doing it, you may do it another time. Allow yourself to have some wiggle room, to be in the gray space in between, where you’re trying your best, and that’s good enough, it is actually more than good enough. It was pointed out to me in my early journey that I had done things the old way much longer than I had the new way, so it wasn’t fair to beat myself for falling back to what I knew or once did, but I always had the chance to do it better the next time. And that’s what I did. It’s been over 13 years now and sometimes I can still fall back, but I know now that when I do it’s just a moment and it’s not who I am today, and maybe I fall back from time to time to remind myself where I don’t want to fall back to, and that’s OK, because today I know the right choices for me and what I need to do to live this life I’ve worked so hard for, a slip from time to time isn’t the end of the world, it’s just part of the process.
Allow yourself to make mistakes, and when you do, never say never again, say, I’ll do better next time, or I’ll try to, or, I did my best today. No one is perfect, and embracing those times we may fall back, and learning to look at them as learning opportunities rather than failures is the mindset that will get us to the place we’re working so hard for, I know, because I got there, and I know you can too. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you feel like you’ve failed if you fall back on old behaviors? Do you beat yourself up for it? Do you set strict parameters for yourself that you can’t possibly live within to grow and learn naturally? Why do you think you do this? How do you think you can ease those parameters to let yourself grow and make mistakes as part of your process and journey? What do you think will happen if you do? Let yourself live in the gray area sometimes, let go of the restrictions of right or wrong and let yourself find your way, always striving to do better the next time if you haven’t made the best choice in the moment, let yourself find the right way and not beat yourself up for the mistakes along the way, those mistakes might just be what’s guiding you to the right choice the next time.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you