Updated: Nov 14, 2018
Perspective is a strange concept-- mostly because when you’ve assumed a particular perspective, it can be difficult to see beyond it. I have the tendency to get really swept up in my current state of mind, whether that’s being deeply inspired by a new idea, or really discouraged or overwhelmed when challenges inevitably arise. I know that this is my pattern. Yet, when I’m in the thick of it, it’s so hard to realize that I’ve lived another reality (“am I gonna be like this forever??”).
I got married in August, and the whole year was just teeming with excitement, planning, and beautiful events. I didn’t even think to consider that beyond the wave of the wedding, I would face an emotional lull. That lull also happened to coincide with shorter days and less sunlight (thanks, autumn), my mother’s one year anniversary of her death, and abnormally busy work days that left me drained by 5pm. Tough set of circumstances, yes? This is the time to be kind to yourself and fall back onto those healthy habits we’ve built to keep the lights on.
But here’s what I did instead.
I was tired and a little sad, so other areas of my life suffered like regular workouts and proper sleep. Then, I beat myself up for neglecting those areas. THEN, I became frustrated because I wasn’t investing into myself in the ways I’d envisioned (we’ll talk about the dangers of expectations in another post). AND THEN, I threw the kitchen sink into the mix and declared myself a failure. Sound familiar?
I share this with you because I, too, am human and am not impervious to these pitfalls that we all face in some form or another. One of the first things I tell my clients is “give yourself a break!”. I can so clearly see their accomplishments and investments in themselves and how they have brought their own kitchen sink to our session. So we start by breaking it all down, and get a sense of where we can prioritize, make a plan, and where we can let go. Most importantly, we do a reality check and see how we can shift our perspective.
There is something called the Transtheoretical Model, which outlines stages of change or behavior. Many health professionals consider stage 5, or maintenance, as the final stage. This is where you’ve been practicing your healthy habits regularly for 6 months or longer and you’re on a roll. Guess what? Even people in this stage relapse to previous stages of behavior. The good news is that folks in stage 5 take less time to get back there when they have a little slip up. The work you’ve put into it is not in vain.
Here is my point. You will likely fall off the wagon from time to time. But it’s ok! You have not failed. How cool is it that you have today to pick it back up and try again? The peaks give a point of reference for the valleys. No rain, no rainbow. Or whatever phrase clicks with you to help you understand that joys and sorrows are kind of a package deal, gift wrapped, and called “life”. It’s how we choose to absorb the aforementioned that defines that quality of our life.
Consider your perspective today, and how even a small shift can change your reality.