All last year I worked towards goals that I set the year before. For the first time – I actually did it. I succeeded. Honestly? It freaked me out.
I know what failure looks like. I know what to do after failing. I know what comes next. Now? What the hell comes next you guys? After success?
I’ll tell you: buckets of anxiety and stress. “AH! This is new. I don’t know what is happening? What do I do? How do I screw it up so I know what is next and get back to NORMAL!”
December has been a battle waged against warring parts of myself. Logical Spock Tami, and emotionally confused hyper anxious and stressed out Tami. Humans, man. We just don’t make sense.
I will say – it is a testament to all the work of the last few years that I am self aware and mindful enough to see what is happening while it is happening and to stop myself from really corking things.
Did this happen quickly? Was I a shiny new person one previous new year’s day and from then on a mindfulness master? Hell no. This is years of practice. There are website and scales that talk about change, but this is how I describe the stages.
- I am fine. I have no problems.
- You know. There might be an issue here. (Flips rock back over and thinks, “I didn’t see nothing.”)
- There is an issue here. I don’t know what to do about it and I don’t have the energy to think about it, but it exists.
- Okay. This issue? It’s really gotten too big. I gotta think about doing something. But don’t.
- Alright, what can we do about this? Give it some thought, and maybe do some research for a future – not yet established – date.
- Doing it. Making a change. I gotta get #mindright
- THAT WAS SO HARD. I was really on track until this giant stressor came along and I reverted to old habits.
HERE is where the pattern can change over time. The above pattern of behavior? You will (and I will) repeat it over and over again. It’s a cycle that never ends, BUT with effort, it will improve. The last step? The part where you reverted? After that it’s likely that you’ll skip or blast through the first couple steps the next cycle. Maybe this time it takes you a year to move through all that and get to a point where you are ready to make changes. And then a giant stressor comes along and blows you off course and it takes you nine months to get back on track. And again, six months, and again, three months. Each successive time builds on habits and new patterns.
But don’t let anyone kid you – it’s not linear and it’s never over. Life is one long journey of stressors that you have the opportunity to learn and grow from. You are never done until you are dead. And how awesome is that? Every moment of every day you have the chance to make a change.
While that old pattern of failure, self sabotage, and impostor syndrome is there – it no longer makes up the majority of the marching band that plays through my mind every day. It’s like the clarinet section or something. The other instruments talking to me about mindfulness, pattern recognition, and acknowledging growth and the biggest and best of them all – acceptance – overwhelm them most of the time. Acceptance that the struggle is real and ongoing. Acceptance that of course, you will fuck up from time to time, but do not shame yourself, but instead, just go right back to doing the good shit you were doing.
Five years ago this seemed like something read in a book and impossible to feel. I feel it now. It’s a battle, but it is also my reality – a thing I never thought possible has come to fruition though small moments of mindfulness over time.
I have strength I have built through battles in this war to now do things that terrify me. To accept those feelings while not getting swept up in them, and understand that those feelings are not a reason to not continue moving forward.
It’s 2019. I have no idea what to expect. I’m feeling waves of fear and insecurity. I don’t know what is going to happen in the future. I don’t know what this new life unknown to my person will look like. I have doubts about my ability to continue and I’m so frightened of disappointing people.
I’m mindful. I feel all this. I breathe it in. I let it go, and I take the next, small step into the unknown.
This is a fabulous post. Knowing yourself is so hard, and no one talks about how it can still be hard even AFTER you find success.
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It’s like… I lifted the bar and got there. NOW WHAT???
Yeah, I hear you.
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Hey Tami, Here is a link to a poem my therapist shared with me about making changes. http://sites.uci.edu/mindful/files/2013/10/Autobiography-in-Five-Short-Chapters.pdf Whenever I am struggling with change I think of this poem and how far I have come from when I started.
Oh my gosh. That is TERRIFIC. Thank you for sharing this with me!