“Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress – which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.”
I saw this and knew instantly I wanted to write about it. This is something I’ve struggled with a ton, and I know so many others do too!
I’m 27 years old, and I don’t own my home; I rent. I’ve always wanted to own a home, but they’re no small investment. There are so many pieces to consider: a down-payment, private mortgage insurance, yearly taxes, home owners insurance, maintenance and upkeep, and of course the price of the house itself! (I’m sweating just thinking about it!)
Although I have a safe place for my daughter and I to live, I too often feel bad about not owning my home. Sometimes I feel like a failure, and it doesn’t help that as a kid, I thought my adult life would be all figured out by the age of 24 (ha!).
I face the same struggle with self-growth and development. I work so hard to practice gratitude and focus on everything I have in my life. I want to be a light to everyone I come into contact with. I want to inspire people, help them believe in magic and miracles again, and to see the world for everything good in it. But I have bad days, y’all. I wake up in a cranky mood, complain too much, and seem to wear a scowl on my face. I realize it, and then I feel horrible. “Who would want to be inspired by someone like this? Who would take my advice, or read my posts, or feel motivated to be their best selves when I’m a negative person myself?”
Consequently, I feel like a failure.
Why is it that we expect an immediate change within ourselves – an instantaneous, complete, and finished product – and when we don’t experience that, we feel shame? Why is it that we expect our growth to be a steadily increasing slope, free of valleys, stumbles, and low points? It’s not realistic, and it’s unfair to hold ourselves to that standard.
It takes roughly 4 years to receive a degree; we don’t expect it to be awarded to us overnight. Do you know what we do? We feel pride with each assignment that we submit, and we feel so relieved with each course that we complete. We do poorly on some assignments and great on others, and our course grade reflects the average of it all (NOT just the lower scores). We accept that we’ll struggle at some points. We accept that our education is a work in progress.
If an author decides she wants to write a book, she doesn’t throw in the towel when it doesn’t happen overnight. What does she do? She fights through writers’ block, knowing full well that some days will be more productive than others. She sends her work to her editor, and based on the feedback, scraps some paragraphs, re-writes her ideas, maybe considers never writing another word again, and then submits it again. Little by little she works toward the end result. She feels relieved with each page and chapter that is written. It’s a process, and there is no published author that has ever avoided it.
The things we want in life take time to come to fruition! Why is that so hard for me and others to accept? I hold myself to the standard that happiness and success should come instantly, and that my path toward a goal should be free of obstacles. I take my low points, my valleys, as a reflection of my ability and my worth.
Well, I’m saying, “No!”
I’m saying, “You’re wrong!”
I’m calling BS!
Do you know what I should instead believe? Nothing in life worth having comes easy. No great accomplishment comes free of a backstory of struggle and perseverance. The journey between having a goal and achieving it should never be considered a failure.
I should NOT feel like a failure because I’m not exactly where I want to eventually be. I should not feel like I’m incapable or weak because I am a work in progress. I will forever be one. You will, too.
Life isn’t meant to be lived waiting for the next achievement to feel happiness. Life isn’t meant to be lived as a race to the finish line. Life is meant to be soaked in – every minute of every day. We’re meant to find meaning not only in achievement but in the journey to get there, too.
We live in a world of instant gratification. Sweet human, don’t hold yourself to that standard! I invite you to challenge your thoughts! What is something you feel like you’re failing at because you’re not yet there? Leave a reply below! ❤