Humans are adaptable creatures.
We see our individual selves every day. We are constantly experiencing our inner world, witnessing our lives through our subjective viewpoint. Oftentimes, we are unable to recognize improvements or change.
If we do something drastic – like chopping off hair or getting a new tattoo – we see it. And we like it! We get a big ol’ dump of dopamine in our brain land and it feels good to change it up.
But what about the subtle shifts? The summation of every single time we’ve paused and pivoted, paused and pivoted… Of every time we’ve recognized a pattern while in it and chosen to handle it differently than we had in the past?
I personally can take those things for granted. I’ve always been a quick learner, goal-oriented, setting new goals the second I reached existing ones. I’ve been a “yes, and” or “yes, but” person rather than a “YES!” person.
IMAGINE IF THE SITUATION WAS FLIPPED.
I’d never ever say that to another person, and yet it’s second nature for me to talk to myself that way.
An area where growth has been challenging for me to recognize / celebrate is EMOTIONAL growth. I have this expectation to be fully enlightened and open and honest and vulnerable and caring and understanding and present, a mere 100% of the time.
(Meanwhile four years ago I had to carry around a feeling wheel PDF to help identify ONE feeling a day. That was my daily goal.)
I progress quickly. I dig deep emotionally and I do the hard work to push through old patterns and write new “programs” to run off of. This happens so quickly that I often forget what life used to be like.
I was in a rough emotional and mental space today. I woke up in near-tears. “Great,” I thought. “I get a handful of days with my boyfriend and now THIS MOOD has decided to pop up.”
But, emotional storms are like diarrhea. Sometimes it comes out of nowhere and there’s nothing you can do but let it run its course.
I did what I could with the emotion… to fix it or process it or get it to feel welcomed and loved so it could MOVE ALONG, PLEASE. I let myself cry a lot, I did yoga (while crying), I meditated. The feelings persisted.
I felt outside of myself, ungrounded, uncertain, a little panicky, and like I was running at 10-20%.
The plan was to have a Memorial Day cookout thing with my boyfriend’s family.
The easy thing would have been to stay home, let him go solo, and to sleep and watch baking shows all day. The easy thing would have been to hide my behind-the-scenes… My less-than-perfectness.
But, I’ve done that. I’ve seen how that plays out. Yes, it’s more comfortable. Yes, it feels safer because the chances of having a panic attack in front of my SigO’s family are removed.
But… What kind of life do I want to live?
Do I want to live a life where emotional states determine what I do and don’t do that day? Do I want to live a life of limitation because I’m afraid I’ll be messy in front of people?
Or do I want to live a life of freedom? One where I can carry through on commitments even when I’m on my C game?
I chose to go. It was important to my boyfriend and it was a commitment I’d made. So, I went.
It was challenging.
But, I survived.
Once we got home, I felt guilty. I felt apologetic. I felt badly for having felt badly. Finally, boyfriend was like, “You did great. I don’t think you realize how far you’ve come. This time last year you wanted to kill yourself.”
“Oh,” I responded. “I forgot about that.”
Odd, right? Suicidality plagued me for decades. DECADES. I’m free from it for a year and am beating up on myself for-what-having uncomfortable feelings and then sharing about them and then doing self-care and then SHOWING THE FUCK UP for a loved one in spite of feeling like hiding in a cave?
This ought to be CELEBRATED, not condemned!
I’m grateful I have people in my life who pay attention, who really see me. I’m grateful they can help me pinpoint victories… Otherwise my inner perfectionistic micro-manager will take over, and nothing will ever be good enough.
Life doesn’t stop because I’m having a bad day. I can engage with other humans even if I’m struggling a bit. No one else has the expectations for me that I do. Today, everyone survived without me being outgoing and witty and laugh-y.
The night still ended being spooned by my boyfriend, falling asleep while watching Bob Ross. Me feeling shaky and wonky didn’t cause some giant explosion. It didn’t make anyone mad at me. It was just an unexpected wave that came in and made a big splash. Rather than get caught in the undertow, I rode that mother fucker. I may have been a little squirrelly, but… I did it.
And that, my friends, is ample reason to celebrate.
What victories do you have to share?