“…is still progress.”
Let’s pause on this thought for just a moment.
A work in progress is still progress.
Deep, right? This hit me hard last month, and continues to resonate with me today. A work in progress is still progress. I have been wrestling a lot with the idea of being kind to myself, and especially while still deep in the trenches of the, “Stop dress-rehearsing tragedy,” ‘ah-ha’ moment I experienced last month. I am still navigating through this life moment, and still trying to make meaning out of the ways in which I, “dress-rehearse tragedy.” We all do it, right?
Yes. The answer is a resounding, beautiful, “Yes!” We all have life stuff we are working through, and some, to no avail.
But the work is enough.
I repeat, the work is enough.
I recently had a very good friend send me the book, “The Happiness Advantage,” written by Shawn Achor. If you haven’t heard of his research, check it out. It’s really great stuff, and will give you some new and scholarly perspective – we can all use a scholarly boost to validate the here and now (evidence-based learning and development, and all of that). Let me just toss out two points to get your party started:
“If all you strive for is diminishing the bad, you’ll only attain the average and you’ll miss out entirely on the opportunity to exceed the average.”
“You can study gravity forever without learning how to fly.”
These points were toward the beginning of this adventure, however I am still working on the book, and hope to unearth more knowledge nuggets as the reading continues.
Related and moving forward, I had an opportunity to hear Gretchen Rubin speak last week. Rubin is the author of, “The Happiness Project,” and newly released, “Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives.” I should assert, I’ve not read either of these books, however I certainly buy into these philosophies…and, a good friend of mine said this woman was pretty legit, so I decided to oblige.
And the lecture did not disappoint. At multiple points, I found myself, “Mmmhmm’ing,” and, “Oh yes’ing,” in the audience. Most notably, I found myself fully captured by the following point:
“Hitting a finish line is very dangerous if what you want to do is establish a habit.” – Gretchen Rubin
Allow me to explain (via interpretation, via Gretchen Rubin)…
Why is it that people train for one marathon, and then following said-marathon, call it quits? One-hit wonders. And how true is this in our every day lives, as we attempt to take on new tasks and endeavors, and with full hope to enact these desired-habits as sustainable? Again, “You can study gravity forever without learning how to fly” (Achor, Early in the Book). What role does, “enough,” play here?
You see, I do this. I get to a point where I commit to something, and I commit hard. But when I realize I can’t be perfect in it (whatever, “it,” is, and, of course, while remembering that none of us can ever truly achieve perfection), I pause and move on to the next hope and goal because I am desperate to be good enough (hell, “enough,” in general). And the cycle starts again – rinse, wash, repeat. Striving for, “enough,” is taxing on the mind and body. It’s taxing on the soul.
I need to lose 20 lbs. I need to be enough.
I need to be more social and push myself to make friends in DC. I need to be enough.
I need to engage a bigger dialogue about the things that matter (being Black in America, being gay in Indiana, being a woman in this world, trans* oppression, and the list goes on and on). I need to be enough.
I need to shower more. Okay, this one is pretty legit.
You get the point. The list goes on and on. Our, “needs,” and how we define what we, “need,” is incredibly subjective, and reeks of how we define, “perfection.” Perfection is scary and haunting, and, “enough,” accompanies the way in which we view, “perfect.”
Needless to say, I am in a full stage of life and self-reflection. The learning has commenced, and my first realization is to cut myself some slack.
I repeat, I need to cut myself some slack.
We all need to cut ourselves some slack. And, with an initial commitment to stop buying into the concept of, “perfection.” Seriously, stop letting perfection rule your life. Stop using, “perfect,” as a benchmark. You are enough, and, “perfect,” only pushes you into a set of standards that are often unreachable and unattainable. Furthermore, being perfect is exhausting (well, attempting/aiming/desiring perfection is exhausting, that is). And when you can remember that a work in progress is still progress, you will find success/happiness/resolve/peace, etc., the list goes on and on. The idea of accepting your work, in progress, is one that demands you to be kind to yourself. To be reflective. To be appreciative of your talents and your strengths. To stick with what you know, and nurture and fuel that gift. You have gifts. And your gifts are enough.
Are you paying attention?
Self care doesn’t have to be about fixing something, or tweaking with hopes of a perfect outcome. Perfect outcomes are overrated. In this new space and new time, and in whatever realities exist ahead, pause and know your worth. Validate your talents and your gifts, and own the impact they may/have on the world around you. Would you believe you have the opportunity to change someone’s life, merely by living your own truth? Would you believe you can better take care of yourself if you just stop placing your value in perfection and what it means to be perfect?
Would you believe you are enough?
May you put in the work, feel proud of your progress, and believe in your truth every step of the way. Here’s to something great.
*Photo above via Amber Rae.
^just because you deserve this moment…