A few years ago, I decided that my life was going to change.
I was at a point in my life where I was battling with depression, disordered eating, and a toxic relationship. And when that relationship ended, I felt that from then on my life was never going to be the same again. I decided to start anew. I decided that I wouldn't be someone who lets anxiety run her life, and that I would honor my body with the food I ate and the environment I put myself in. I decided to live out the love I believed in. Even though there was pain and emotion, it was such a beautiful time in my life.
Three years later and the work is FAR from over.
In fact, I've made this "big decision" to change multiple times since then. It seems like there is something more for me to work on every single day, and I've watched myself fall back into old patterns and habits time and time again, and it's SO frustrating. I'll think, "I've dealt with this already! Why is this coming back? Haven't I learned that lesson already?"
I don't blame myself for thinking this way. Everything I've ever known has worked in an automatic way.
Let me explain: I turn a lever, and instantly I have water. I flip a switch, and my home is the exact temperature I want it to be. I tap a screen and I'm immediately talking to a loved one who lives miles away. I go to a store, pick out any food I could want, swipe a card, and just like that I have everything I need for my weekly meals.
The universe is at our fingertips; anything we could possibly want comes to us, with the flip of a switch, turn of a nob, or swipe of a card. It's a beautiful thing!
The problem though, is that I am not a machine. Nothing about me works in this instantaneous way.
We are not made of switches and levers. We are very complex things. Much like the Earth we live on, changes (both negative and positive) occur over long periods of time. No illness, bad habit, or wrong-thinking appears overnight. That said, health and wellness don't either.
It may take a while. Maybe a really, really long time.
And in that time, there will most definitely be failures. It's just part of it. Unlike our automatic world, we can't flip the switch on ourselves and say "from here on out I will eat no processed food! Processed food switch, off!" Oh, no. In my experience at least, at some point there will most definitely come a time where I buy myself a cookies and cream Hershey's bar.
What would life look like if we viewed those failures as an essential and necessary part of healing?
When I buy that damn Hershey's bar, it's not a step back. There's no need to "start back from square one". Rather, noticing myself falling back into an old habit-giving into a craving-I can skillfully decide how to move forward on my journey from where I am NOW. And just as importantly, I can take that opportunity to practice loving and forgiving myself, just as I would my partner or a friend.
So this journey I'm on, of being the best version of myself I can be...it may take a while. It'll definitely take a while. And the only way for me to actually be on this journey is to understand that the work is not a setback. The work is IT.