There’s always a rough patch around the corner waiting for you. As much as I want to be a person with a positive and sunny disposition, I cannot argue against this. Small or big, these patches await us all and they come and go as they please.
It could be a bitter argument, a time when money is tight or even losing a loved one. Each one chips away at us in its own way even if we don’t see it. You might find that things are just not the same after. I’ve had conversations which made me rethink entire relationships with someone. This summer I had went through the gruelling experience of fixing a big mistake I made.
When I think back to the days when I was working to correct things, I remember the kind of person I became. I created feelings of self-hate and loathed myself for a long time. Every day felt like I was paying for making a mistake and that I deserved it. I stopped doing things that made me happy. I stopped reading. I stopped listening to music. I was the only one punishing myself for making a mistake even after others forgave me. It seems almost silly now, but I was not then who I am now.
It took me a long time to start considering thoughts of acceptance and self-forgiveness and that didn’t come easy. Every day became replacing negative ideas with different ones. Every day became starting to forgive myself a tiny bit. And eventually, I put that horrid experience behind me and looked forward to better things.
To this day I think about the person I became after that rough patch. Someone filled with self-loathing. It wasn’t the person I’ve wanted to be. Perhaps the complete opposite. I’ve always wanted to help others and I’ve learned that I can’t do that unless I help myself first. You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself. That is who I chose to become. Someone who understands that simple fact. And I chose to start taking care of myself so that I could give back.
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
– Carl Jung
I’ll end with this thought: The day I realized that my hardships turned me into someone I didn’t recognize, I started looking for a way to correct myself. What happens to me cannot deter me from being the person I intend to become. It’s not strong enough to achieve that.
I hope you all stay safe, wear masks, check up on friends and family and let’s get through this responsibly!
I’ve recently found myself using the phrase ‘baby steps’ more and more in conversations. It comes up mostly whenever I am talking about rough/unproductive days and is surprisingly effective at getting the message across. The phrase just feels right. Despite the adorable nature of the phrase and setting aside mental images of pudgy babies stumbling around, let me tell you why I find it to be such an effective way to express myself.
As grown ups, we find ourselves juggling multiple things at the same time all the time. Take me right now. Currently, I am trying to study for school, to actively participate in two Toastmasters clubs, to find time to read, do laundry, meet up/stay in touch with friends after making promises and mostly to keep this blog running. I bet your schedule is way busier but I have trouble getting all of mine done as it is. As a result, I usually end up dropping the ball on something. An assignment left for the last minute, missing a Toastmasters meeting because I was working on the assignment till 3am or even just having a slow day when nothing gets done.
Now wind the clock all the way back to when you were learning how to walk. You were most likely bumping into stuff, relying on things for support and losing your balance after every few steps. Probably fell on your butt more than a few times and woke the neighbours up. But the point is you dropped the ball a lot of times. But, at that age it isn’t seen as wrongful or disappointing that you do. Instead, the act of taking baby steps is translated to “slowly but surely getting to where you want to be.” Literally.
I don’t mean to compare your difficult classes or hectic work projects to a baby walking but rather to how you treat yourself when you stumble. To me personally, the phrase articulates that I’m learning to be the version of myself that can manage my workload perfectly. A version that gets his school readings done on time so he can get to other readings of a more fictional nature. A version that checks up on his friends and gets the laundry done on time.
I think we’re all trying to be that person who can get all of our work done perfectly, but we’re just not there yet. We drop the ball because we’re human. And that can make someone think badly of themselves. Rather, think of those tough days as baby steps. Small, unsteady but necessary steps leading to a future where you get to walk down whatever path you choose. Literally.
So, don’t hate the unproductive days. Don’t hate yourself on those days. And if you ever find yourself on the floor after taking a fall, just remember.
It has now been 116 days since I last posted something on my blog. I haven’t been putting it off or coming up empty on ideas. It’s mostly because I have too many things going through my mind and its been getting hard to focus on any one of them. But, today I decided to slap on a fresh coat of paint on the site and finally sit down and type this post up.
I am currently in the middle of an online semester. Online classes & labs are inefficient learning environments, so that’s an ongoing struggle. COVID-19 is still a thing and I’m pretty sure we have a second wave of cases on the way. So, the uncomfortable mask on the beard must stay where it is. I’m doing a whole lot of electives this semester and learning a lot about what people in Psych & Pols science study. Some of it is fascinating but some is downright boring.
This past summer was a long and introspective one. I confronted a lot of thoughts and tried to figure out how to embody better versions of myself. Not all days were successful. I worked on self-acceptance and self-forgiveness. The summer was also a wake-up call on friendships that drifted away when school wasn’t on. I realized that sometimes people you think or hope would stay around a long time don’t. Sometimes, people who have been around forever aren’t right for you. Time just goes on and people become more of who they are. It is up to you to recognize the kind of people you want to have around you.
The past few weeks have been tiring, frustrating but also incredible. I am finding more and more about myself. I find myself drawn to people who don’t make friendships feel like a chore. And I’m lucky enough to have friends always there for a chat or a beer or even sharing good music. I do things that make me happy. I go for walks and watch the trees turn yellow and red. I feel grateful for everything I am lucky enough to have. I am still a bit inefficient and occasionally lazy when it comes to schoolwork, but I always seem to end up with a good result, thanks to late nights and gameplay music.
These 116 days have been full of reflections, walks, music, podcasts, movie nights and baby steps towards better versions of myself. I look forward to what is to come and to giving my best to this semester. For now though, I’m going to enjoy what remains of this glorious Fall we are having.
P.S. Hope you all are staying safe. Please use masks in public areas like stores and buses & let’s get through this responsibly!