I'm doing a 28 day challenge through the yoga studio. It includes weekly meetings, online support, conference calls, daily meditation, practicing 6 times per week, daily acts of kindness, eating well and journaling.
I was so sure it was going to be the motivation that I needed; that it would bring focus, clarity and inspiration to my life. I was going to recommit to my yoga practice (again...), start a steady meditation routine, connect with others authentically and just kick life's ass. I was going to be bikini ready and Buddha-like by March.
Go ahead, laugh, I'll wait.
The prize at the end for attending all of the classes is a t-shirt. The shirts never quite fit me right but I get fiercely competitive about "winning" and in past challenges have made myself crazy doubling and tripling up on classes so that I could "succeed" after bouts of procrastination. I inconvenience my family, friends and life to make it happen. I torture myself until I dread doing the things that I love.
The start of this challenge was no different and then I came down with a cold that really kicked my ass. And whenever I lose momentum, I just quit. If I'm not getting a shirt, then why bother?
(For the bikini body, Ashley, you might be saying. To be like Buddha, you might be thinking. Right...but Buddha would get the shirt.)
Then when I quit, I tell myself that I'm a quitter and quitters are losers and since I am overwhelmed by things other people can do, I clearly suck more than most people.
Do you see how hard it is to be me? With all of these self-imposed constraints and comparisons?
Any of you who have been around for a while remember my Woman I Want To Be (WIWTB) phase. Years ago, in one of our fits of self-improvement, the Renee and I made lists defining our WIWTB. We created a picture of what she does, where she goes, how she lives and instead of beating ourselves up over all of the things we weren't doing, we looked at our WIWTB with admiration and took baby steps to be more like her.
I'm not talking world-changing stuff. My WIWTB painted her nails semi-regularly, went to lunch with friends, wrote professionally, read great books, exercised. She liked herself and other people liked her. She laughed loudly, she had great friends, she kept her car clean.
While feeling like a loser over my most recent failure, I thought of the WIWTB all of those years ago...and I realized that I'm her. I grew into her. 30-year-old me would have been impressed by 36-year-old me, even if 25-year-old me would have been horrified (To be fair, 25-year-old me was an idiot.)
So, I'm going to keep on keeping on with my baby steps. I'm going to sit down and think about what the WIWTB would be doing these days. I'm going to like the Woman I Already Am a little bit more. I'm going to accept that I'm not always up for a challenge.
I'm going to buy myself a damn shirt.
And clean out my car. I need to do that, too.
Be nice to yourself, my friends. Life is its own challenge. The Woman You Want To Be will be ready when you are.