“When you say yes to others make sure you are not saying no to yourself.” ~ Paulo Coelho
The above photograph was taken in the midst of one of the worst weeks of my life. While I won’t go into all the horrific details we will leave it as my world was imploding on every level possible, and all my worst fears were coming true so much that I was numb and couldn’t even find tears. The life I had been striving for was ending. I was out on a walk with my daughter, trying to hold myself together, next to a field and these dead flowers caught my eye. While they were past their prime, weathered and bent from wind, they were still standing and doing so ever so beautifully. That’s how life is sometimes, you can’t always control your circumstances, but in the end, it requires us trying to look for the small gifts, the creation around us and try to find even small moments of joy in the chaos of life.
I admire that in children. How resilient they can be. When they are lost in life, with almost no say in what’s going on around them, they somehow always find something to laugh or smile about. My daughter has been that reminder for me, this glimmer of light each day, no matter what relationship, job, friend, family member or destructive self-thought fails me at that time. Her belly laughter always somehow makes life alright and strives to inspire me to keep fighting for what I want in life.
I read a great passage the other day from “Girl, Wash Your Face”, that was so powerful, yet simple in its strength. The author talks about how when a baby takes their very first steps, how thrilled, supportive and ecstatic the parent is, filled with pride and joy. Never in a million years would they say to them, “I think those could’ve been straighter, faster, less wobbly or you didn’t take enough.” Of course not, that would be unthinkable right? Yet, that’s what women do, so many times, daily. We have this inner voice that is so critical, nags at us when we fail in any way, makes us feel not good enough, makes us question our choices and sometimes makes us feel like why do I even try to so hard. I don’t know about you, but once again, I need to take a lesson from that innocent little life whose excited, proud and joyful at just taking a few steps forward. It might be slow, not perfect or not like anyone else, but all you can do is learn and move forward.
Yes, it’s commendable and appropriate to care about what others in this life think of us, especially those we love and respect. But, also remember only you need to answer to you and most opinions need to be blocked out. Set your own standard of what’s enough. Live each day of your life not as perfect as possible, but just a bit better than you did yesterday. Progress is progress even in baby steps. Be proud of all accomplishments in your life because as long as you keep fighting and want to be a better person that’s all that matters. Take a walk outside and admire how nature isn’t perfect, it’s messy, broken, sometimes destroyed, yet it survives. So can you.