It’s January 6th. What’s going through your mind right now? Are you excited about making changes in your life…or already discouraged?
If you’re anything like I was, even just a year ago, you’re thinking about your resolutions or goals for the year. You probably have some of the same old goals on there that you had on the list last year…and the year before…and maybe even the year before that. Some of you have a brand new set of goals and are determined to change your life this time around.
If you are holding strong and knocking it out of the park – congrats!
But I bet many of you are already disappointed with yourself. “I’ve got too far to go; I’ll never get there.” “I’ve tried before and failed. Why try again?” “I’ve already screwed up and failed because I cheated/forgot/just didn’t give a darn in the moment. There goes that one! I’m giving up because it’s all or nothing, so I can’t work on it again until next year.”
“I can’t believe I’m here AGAIN. I’m so stupid and must not be capable of changing at all because clearly I didn’t learn the lesson the first time around. Otherwise I wouldn’t be in the same damn spot I was.”
I know what you’re thinking, because that was me. I had those thoughts and have been right where you are. Crying furious tears because every time you get serious, something happens to derail you. You get sick. You get hurt. Life interrupts you. Feeling like a total loser and failure because dammit you SWORE to yourself that you were NEVER going to be here again. Oh yeah, I have an evil, nasty voice in my head sometimes that knows just how to tear me down. It’s probably cousins with the one in your head.
But I’ve done a lot of growing and learning and listening to the truth inside me this past year. And so…even though my skinny jeans are tight AGAIN, my mind is in a different place and I can peacefully and even lovingly work on getting myself back on track.
Want to learn the secret? Here’s what I’ve learned, friends. You’ve got to realize that you’re thinking about your path through life ALL WRONG. Progress and moving “forward” is NOT linear. It’s not even a cha-cha with two steps forward and one step back.
Progress is a SPIRAL STAIRCASE.
Yep. A beautiful, grand spiral staircase – isn’t that amazing?? Do you know how great that news is??
It means that you will obviously see the same issues time and time again in your life. But, as long as you are learning and growing, each time you come around the bend you are higher up the staircase. You recognize the view faster and know how to deal with it better each time. You have the benefit of your past experience. Look at the similar periods of your life with fresh eyes and see if you can tease out the tools and lessons you learned. Then get busy applying them as soon as you realize what you’re dealing with to minimize the negative impact to your mind, body, and life.
Soon, you’ll spend less time on the unpleasant views and longer stretches in the nicer parts.
For me, realizing that I will continue to see some version of the same issues throughout my life and accepting it as fact is incredibly liberating. It means there’s nothing WRONG with us! In fact – it means you’ve made progress when you stand on the same battlefield again later in your life. You just have something more to learn from that situation – something deeper to resolve – which couldn’t be addressed last time because you weren’t ready for it yet.
As hard as it may be, if you can work on accepting each turn around the spiral staircase as progress, you won’t be so disappointed in yourself. It is NOT failure to revisit the view you thought you’d left behind. This time, look for the finer details in the landscape and notice the change in your perspective; you really have come so very far. Give yourself credit for the stairs already climbed and look forward to the peace and joy are coming around the turn.