I often find myself in a battle between who I was, who I am, and who I’m becoming. Climbing to get to the next level, shaking off the old parts of me, and trying to stand still long enough to embrace the gift of the present; all of this at the same time might I add. I’m a grateful recovering perfectionist, and I am so happy to know that there is no expectation that I must be anything other than who or what I am in the present moment.
“Life isn’t about being perfect at doing whatever it is you’re doing, it’s about getting good at getting back up.” –Nick Nielsen
But I’d be a lie if I said that there aren’t moments when I can literally feel my past-self seeping out of my pores; old behaviors surfacing out of habit, healed wounds that I pick at for no reason, and my fingers dialing old associates that I had graduated from. It seems to happen every now and then; it’s as if I stop believing in how far I’ve come, and I fall back because of the familiarity that exists and the comfort that had kept me for so long. My writing mentor's favorite line is: “nothing grows in comfort zones”. Well who the bleep said I felt like growing? Can I be honest for a second…Growth is difficult; it’s scary, and I for one enjoy my comfort zone at times.
I was speaking to one of my best friend's a little while ago and we jokingly asked God how come He didn’t create us to be lazy unambitious bums. We marveled about how much easier life would be if we lacked morals and goals and we discussed the challenge of remaining consistent towards our growth. I noticed that I wasn’t the only one struggling in this area of occasional regression. It wasn’t just me who felt the pull of the past or the pressure from the future.
It’s so easy to fall back in to comfort zones and get reacquainted with your old self. It feels natural, we’re experienced at it, it’s predictable, and it doesn’t require much effort; naturally it makes sense. However, we must fight against the old in order to become all that we can and will be. Growth isn’t always fun, but it’s so worth it. I look back on my life a year ago and even beyond that, and I notice the significant differences in who I am, how I think, behave, handle things, and what I believe (about myself & others). I remember the way I held so tightly on to who Edie was back then, afraid of what it meant to let go. It’s amazing to me the amount of growth that has occurred in such a short period of time.
Being a substance abuse therapist, I often ask my clients to define what “recovery” means to them. For me, recovery means letting go of those things that are no longer effective and or manageable in your life.
My name is Edie, and I am recovering from the ineffective unmanageable habits of my past. I slip at times, but I ensure that it does not turn into a fall.
The ways I maintain my recovery are by:
- Practicing gratitude: I try to keep myself from thinking that it was better or easier back then. I remind myself that there is no such thing as a life better than mine, at a time such as this
- Reflecting on how far I’ve come: “when I look back over my life…” (anyone who grew up in a black Christian church should be able to finish that sentence, lol). I often have to think back to how things had been to remind myself that I don’t belong there nor do I want to be there anymore
- Believing that the best is still out ahead: eyes haven’t seen, ears haven’t heard, and thoughts haven’t imagined all that I will become (1 Corinthians 2:9). However, I believe that it will come to past; it’s the part of me that believes this that pushes me to grow even when I want to melt into a pool of comfort
We’re creatures of habit so it’s common to want to stick to what feels good, but everything that feels good isn’t good for you (rendition of 1 Corinthians 6:12).
P.S. You don’t need anyone’s permission, approval, or validation to grow. But you will notice their discomfort when it happens. My advice: don’t shrink back, grow larger.
“When I let go of who I am, I become what I might be” Lau Tzu