Several years ago, Lauren and I were talking, and she said " You know I try to operate from the idea that everyone is doing the best they can in that moment." I didn't really jump on it as something I believed right away, but it was an idea that tucked itself away in my brain, certainly, and surfaced ongoing in the next few years.
I am imperfect. I am a human who has flaws and zits and make decisions that looking back I wonder what the hell I was thinking. But, you know, in the last few days, and again, just last night, those words surfaced in conversation with Sean. " I am doing the best I can," he said.
Ah. It helped me see him. So this morning, of course, from the sky of Universe, some words that Liz Ferro gave her Girls With Sole Program a few weeks back when I was with her, these words, and this piece of paper that I decorated with stickers to personalize it, it was lying on the ground just outside of the laundry room.
"Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to? Be thankful when you don't know something for it gives you the opportunity to learn.. [be thankful for]; difficult times; because you grow; for limitations because they give you places to improve; for new challenge to build strength and character.; for mistakes, to teach you;
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for setbacks."
To choose over and over and over to recommit to taking a look and admitting when I'm wrong or was operating out what I knew at the time; geeze, that can be so hard. When I want so badly for things to just fall into place and work and the energy it takes to choose differently is exhausting, the words, "I'm doing the best I can" look like failure to another. But I am. I promise I am.
There are stages of change that have been researched and captured to better understand just how much goes into "choosing differently." They are pre-contemplation: the NOT knowing that anything should/could/might be different. Then comes contemplation: the recognition that maybe something might benefit from being different but change does not occur. After that is preparation: the recognition that change is a good idea and planning starts to take place. 4th, is action: the doing part and finally maintenance: keeping up with the change.
That's a lot, right? So imagine taking a microscope to a singular change. For example: I am going to get a dose of nature everyday. There's 1. not even knowing that's something that could be different. Then 2, realizing that's something that should be different. 3. Thinking about how I could go about being in nature everyday. 4. Actually getting into nature everyday and 5. Continuing to do that.
It makes me tired thinking about it; and in the same sentence, I know small changes are part of the steps to changing my "I'm doing the best I can, and feeling like I'm failing," to "I'm doing the best I can and I know it's not perfect ( because I'm not perfect) but I'm going to keep trying to do this anyways and see what happens."
It takes a tremendous amount of willpower to show up and look at my own places and spaces of life that challenge me. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to live in pre-contemplation; not knowing anything could be different. I wasn't promised waking up and making choices that cultivate a better version of myself was going to be a walk in the park. And sometimes I'd like to run really far away and see how that goes. ( I mean, Mexico is so beautiful). And the beautiful reality of having a heart beat, and getting a chance to breathe in and breathe out, means that I don't have it all figured out. That challenges and mistakes, and limitations, ultimately, do require attention + love.
This morning, after an evening of challenging conversation that got me thinking I really don't have any of this figured out, I decided to pull out some vision and goals questions to peruse. (which is pretty hilarious that when I feel like I have nothing together, I decide it's a perfect time for lofty goals). Court called and realized quickly that if she didn't show up in the next ten minutes I might be purchasing something bizarre, book a flight to the Northern Lights, or snot up my entire sweatshirt; so TGFC; her rogue arrived at my drive to talk.
I am in ( and we all are) every stage of change in some part of my life. There are several things I don't know I need/could change that hang out around the edges and will show up in time. Lots of thought currently resides in contemplation; how can I be a better partner? What could I do differently to make the studio feel more _______? What do I want my life to look like in 10 years?
Some parts of my life are in the prep phase: taking steps to create change. Like my new vitamin game, and decorating the house so it feels festive (yup, no Martha Stew over here). Action and Maintenance phase: grad school certainly, opening and operating a business, being in a relationship, friendships that I actively pour love into.
I realize that even the version who I was those years ago, talking with Lauren, the one who was doing the best she could, I'm different than her. I have learned so much in that time. I committed to changes that absolutely have changed the trajectory of my life. I moved through these stages of change,sometimes with grace, other times with grit, and some moments dragging my feet and swearing. The years ago version of me would not see that I have more humility. The years ago me may not have known I would be softer, loving, and more rooted. I think I might even look back at her and let her know that I knew she was doing the best she could in those moments, and what's ahead is not easier, and it's not perfect, and it's still worth the journey to be thankful for the things that ask us to look deeply at imperfect selves, knowing what we've chosen has been what we knew to be best in that moment, that change can feel like a real doozy, and to try it anyway.