Embracing Ourselves as Works-in-Progress

Embracing Ourselves as Works-in-Progress

Aside from a select few stable geniuses, who perceive themselves as infallible, even the most intelligent among us, are mere works-in-progress.

As we go about this daily journey we call life, we do our best, in light of our given circumstances, but often fall short. We strive to eat better, yet amid daily stress and pressure to accomplish the impossible, succumb to just grabbing a slice, or three, of pizza in between myriad obligations.

We want to exercise, but when we have to manage full-time work, family life, errands, doctor appointments, paperwork and deadlines, and the unexpected curve balls life throws at us (not to mention a good night’s sleep), we can’t perceive the time to fit it in. If you fall into the sandwiched category, whereby you have take care of both your own family unit, along with your aging parents, the time crunch is obviously compounded.

We let insignificant inconveniences, such as having to wait in a long line to pay for groceries, color our perception of our day. We complain, almost constantly, for it has become culturally acceptable to feel chronically dissatisfied, if not ill-treated. There isn’t a conspiracy that allowed that senior citizen couple at Flakowitz to cut in front of you. The hostess seated them first as they were in line first, albeit in the form of sitting on the bench as with walkers and canes, standing for a long time in line wasn’t an option.

We make mistakes — often epic ones, that in my head conjure up a scene from Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry David is saying, “I facked up.”

Yet, in spite of all of these common shortcomings, many of us endeavor to rise above. To take that one small step that amounts to progress. At the moment when deciding what to eat on the go, rather than grabbing those slices of pizza, opting for the pre-packaged hummus and celery along with a piece fruit or yogurt.

Rather than park at the closest spot to the store we need to enter, we park at the complete opposite side of the parking lot, forcing ourselves to fit in a few extra steps. When waiting for what feels like an eternity in line to pay for our groceries, we pull out our cell phone and decide to tackle our email, to-do lists, or scroll through Facebook.

Upon realizing that we are about to complain, we take a beat and remind ourselves how truly lucky we are and put the situation in its proper context. This point is especially driven home when at that exact moment we witness something like seeing an individual with a movement disability struggling to walk a mere few feet.

Perhaps more importantly, is our reaction to our progress. Do we take each moment to pause and celebrate this step, however small, in the right direction? Or, do we revert to self-criticism, defeat and putting ourselves down by reminding ourselves of just how far we have to go?

When we ignore our glimmers of progress, no matter how minute, we then, in fact, feed into a not good enough or perhaps even worse, an all or nothing mentality. In short, a negative outlook that affects your ability to perform at your best, accomplish what you have set out to, and rise above your given challenges.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we give ourselves a trophy for eating hummus instead of pizza but we can at least smile and acknowledge each positive act. Indeed, when we revel in a moment of positivity we subconsciously embrace possibility. To put it another way, positivity begets possibility.

Anecdotally, I have put this theory to the test by actually observing how I myself react when I proverbially put one foot forward. And, I have definitely noticed that by acknowledging my progress, not only do I have a more positive outlook regarding my life’s trials, but also achieve creative and practical inspiration to overcome them.

But, hey, you don’t have to take my word for it, you can simply Google “growth mindset” and based on what resonates with you, adapt your attitude accordingly. So, whether or not you choose to apply a growth mindset, I wish you well and as the saying goes, keep on truckin’.

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