Sometimes you just have to take a moment. To stop whatever you’re doing and to look back. To see how far you’ve come and to realize how much you’ve grown.
Where do you focus on
Often it’s easy to see all the things that aren’t perfect. Without too much thinking, I can easily list a bunch of my weaknesses. Things I struggle with or things in which I don’t meet my own expectations. Although the question is, how realistic those expectations are. Maybe I’m simply expecting too much of myself.
Nevertheless, in my mind I keep going over those weaknesses. For some reason it’s easier to focus on perceived faults, even when good things also happen. Even when I excel my own expectation. Rather than focussing on all the things that go well, I keep circling back to all the things that I need to improve.
For example, I’m currently really struggling in finding a balance between work, rest and my social life. That fact that I don’t feel like I’ve made any improvements in the past three weeks, certainly isn’t helping. And wanting something very badly, combined with having high expectations of yourself is a recipe for disappointment.
I was so fixated on the things that weren’t going according to plan, that I completely forgot to see all the good things that also happened. Worse still, I hadn’t even noticed all the little victories that have been happening.
Walking to the end of my street felt like a top-level sport in those first weeks after my accident. Not only walking, even showering required major effort. One year later cycling became the physical activity that required advance planning. Cycling for twenty minutes was fine, but that meant that I needed public transportation to returning home from work.
Slowly I was able to make some progress. But that wasn’t easy. Since physical activities became so much more difficult and everything required careful planning, I’d lost my belief in my body. I was too scared of overtaxing my body. Every time I reached my allotted time for walking or cycling, my mind instantly went in ‘protect’ mode and the questions whirled around. Can I do this? Do I feel dizzy yet? Can I still follow my line of thinking? Has my double vision returned? Have I reached my limit? Will I still be able to walk tomorrow?
A step forward
Now, five years later, things have changed. Which I attribute to my six months on the road. Still, it took me two weeks to see that things were now different. With this new job, I have to cycle a bit further. However, without giving it a second thought I hopped on my bike to cycle to and from work three days a week. Who would have thought that would be possible, to be mentally and physically active on the same day! Apparently miracles do happen.
That wasn’t even the end of it. I also started running again. Running in nature this time and so far I’m enjoying myself. Still, the fact that I can cycle for three hours and run for an hour and a half in the same week, is a major victory. And I’ve been so focused on my perceived shortcomings that I didn’t even notice these victories.
Upwards and onwards
Once again I need to practice the art of letting go of my own expectations. To be more present in the moment and to pay more attention to all the good things that still happen.
The fact that this is such a visible step forward gives me a renewed sense of hope. Things still can get better. It just takes a lot of time and patience.
Will this last? Will this get better? I don’t know and honestly I don’t care. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I do know that right now I can choose to be happy. I can choose to focus on the good and I can choose to think kindly of myself.