At the beginning of this year, I set myself a single guiding word : Trust.
I was tired of holding back, not trying different things, seeing a path that might be worth following if I would only take a risk. I was tired of being halfhearted in lots of areas of life, of limiting the experiences and emotions I could experience.
So I drew a line in the sand. I would trust more. Whatever that meant.
As we’ve now half way through 2017, I thought it was a good time to review this aim. How has it impacted me? Where am I at now, and where do I want to head? Hopefully this will benefit not only me – because, surely, I’m not the only one to travel along this path?
It’s one thing to say you want to change, and it’s another to actually make a change.
As has happened in the past, I made a commitment and then automatically slipped into a familiar pattern, which goes like this:
- I panicked and couldn’t work out any focus. I felt I was a lost cause and wanted to throw it all in.
- I started to research and read other’s words of advice and direction, trying to fool myself that I was taking action rather than avoiding the stepping out trusting myself
- I signed up and committed to way too many changes at once, telling others of my commitments in a vain attempt that this would hold me accountable. But in most cases, I hadn’t thought about how or why these changes, and the courses, programs, events I signed up to were important ways to achieve them. Many of them slipped by the wayside.
I’ve had to remind myself that this is ok – well, sort of. It is my default approach, and it’s going to take a while to change this. So, although I do get deflated, I’ve also been trying to focus on the fact that habits take a long time to form and it’s not surprising that they might take a while to overcome. Slipping back is probably inevitable at times.
I know that a key part of self trust is improving my self worth. And that means recognising but not dwelling on the negatives, and instead moving towards the positives. And so this stocktake focuses on one side of the ledger – the good stuff. Because, actually, there has been some progress, despite all the false starts.
So what has the first half of 2017 looked like for me?
I’m doing: some things that scare me, but also invigorate and inspire me. These things have included:
- Changing jobs (without an ongoing position) because the opportunity was worth it. It has meant pushing myself regularly through self doubt at work, as well as letting go, a little more, of the control over my kids who’ve needed to become a little more independent due to new routines due to my employment changes, coinciding with some new opportunities my husband’s been trialling.
- Submitting a couple of articles for publication (and one was published!),
- Not volunteering out of obligation (well, that’s probably a negative) but looking for ways I can help in a more positive way.
- Completing a fun run again with no focus on training (despite the potential embarrassment factor due to my lack of pace). I’ve shown myself (twice now) I can stumble through this and keep going, so the next step is to overcome my resistance to training. I’m still trying to unpack this.
I’m feeling: all the feels. I’ve realised that if I really want to trust myself, and others, I did need help – I’ve put up a lot of barriers over the years. So I’ve gone back to counselling and am working through a range of issues with lots of emotions attached.
These feeling are often quite frankly, very uncomfortable and I often wish they’d go back into the box where I kept them. But locking them up is not the answer. Taming them a bit probably is, and the next step is to bring them back from overwhelming (which is where they currently are), to sometimes just being part of life’s ride, but not taking me over. I don’t know – I’m still working it out (and still pretty nervous).
I’m reading: well, too much. But I am starting to become more discerning. This is driven in part by the type of work I am doing, where it would be possible to dig deeper and deeper into different topics, and never actually get to the point of coming to a recommendation. I need to be selective. That’s the same out of work (and applies to TV, movies, and social media. Particularly social media).
I’m thinking: more consciously. I’m aware that I can mull over things – over and over – without letting go and this can be a real barrier in my life. Mulling is a hard habit to break. But I’m trying to learn to be discerning with where my mind go – to at least notice it. In other words, I’m trying to be ‘mindful’ rather than ‘mind full’.
I’m recognising: that a key challenge for me is not necessarily to start, but it’s to keep going through that stage when the novelty wears off but the habit hasn’t become embedded. To appreciate the process of change as much as the end point. Easy to say, harder to do (but helped when I actually notice the smaller, incremental improvements – mini milestones, I guess). And that’s a lesson that I’m valuing from the past six months, as it provides me with a direction to follow.
I’m eating: better in the mornings. Yes, ideally I’d be eating better all the time (and I have at times, and then I slip again). I beat myself up with my excessive sugar consumption (and changes are needed) plus I still need to kick the diet coke habit. But I’ve managed to maintain a regular breakfast – a green smoothie with lots of veggies and enough other good stuff that I’ve also avoided morning snacks (with very few exceptions) for over twelve months now. That’s got to be a good thing?
I’m enjoying: allowing myself the time for doing things that are not purposeful but just fun.
Actually, I lie about this – this is where I’m trying to get to. I have managed it a few times and, oh, the weight off my shoulders! Who knew relaxation could be so, well, relaxing? But still, the rest of the time while I may doing something that should be relaxing, I’m actually dithering in order to procrastinate or feeling guilty about allowing myself to relax. Or excusing it because it’s for the benefit of someone else (often, the kids) or because someone else planned it. But I am appreciating that this is an important skill to develop and so, well, we’ll see how I go.
I’m appreciating: my friends and family more. I’m making more time – not a lot more, but we need to be realistic – not only to see friends, but to switch on and be present with them.
I’ve also been appreciating my family a lot more (although terrible at remembering birthdays – I guess something had to give), and the times together, while often low key, have been more open and fun.
As for the four (including the dog) I share my home and life with, the past six months have been fairly turbulent. At times I’ve been really angry (see emotions above – plus, really, sometimes they’ve deserved it) but at the same time, I’ve been relishing seeing them all bloom in different ways (even in the hard times – childhood is not always easy, sadly). I’m also valuing how they’ve all (including the dog) been prepared to help in their own way. To have a family that has your back – well, that’s priceless.
I’m inspired: by my husband, and others, who don’t get stuck in this overanalysing existence but just get on with things. Even if I don’t fully understand it, I can see that in lots of areas of life, this could be helpful, and I am prepared to try it in small ways.
I’m accepting (or starting to): that I’m me. Not perfect, never going to be, but not fixed either. I can grow and change. I can retain some of the good things that actually do exist within (I haven’t always seen this) – for instance, forward planning. Plus, as I’ve said before, I’m not in this alone – I don’t have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Now it’s time to look ahead – what are you looking forward to in the second half of this year?