If you consume media in any way (and since you're reading this, the answer is already yes), you're constantly being sent false messages about who you are and what success is like. Posts to Facebook are full of success stories, stories of those who have accomplished big things. Instagram is full of pictures of people having great experiences with perfect hair. And all along the way, the message is that "this is what life is like, and it's easy, and I can show you how to have the same thing."
Then you step back from all of that media and look at your messy house and credit card statement and think of the recent argument you had with your boss, and wonder what's wrong with you.
Nothing is wrong with you.
Today I want to share some personal experiences of the reality of success when we take the path of continuous growth and development. The past few weeks or so have been more challenging than normal for me. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share what it's really like as you seek for healing and go after your big goals.
Taking the journey of personal growth and finding healing is not easy. It's not a simple matter of taking a pill every day and magically feeling good and looking good. It's work and it's hard and some days it just plain stinks.
On the flip side, other days are wonderful and amazing and you feel a sense of peace and accomplishment at the progress you're making.
Over time, the days of feeling UP and light and happy begin to outweigh the days of feeling DOWN and frustrated. However, the process of times of UP and times of DOWN is completely normal!
Overwhelm is real
In mid-December, I spent a day planning for my business for 2019. I was so proud of what I created! I had a clear image of what I wanted my business to look like, what brought me joy, and the steps to take to reach my goal and help others.
Here I had the key components of goal achievement - my vision, my why, and my action steps. Wahoo! (A great UP place to be!)
That excitement lasted until about an hour later. As I started talking about it to my husband that evening, he could sense, and I could feel, that the excitement had faded. Instead, I was feeling overwhelmed. In a BIG way.
Even though I was planning on just focusing on one thing at a time, there were still a LOT of things to accomplish and create and offer.
I felt so overwhelmed that I basically stopped moving forward for a few days. I spent the next two or three days in recovery mode. I was unproductive, tired, and worn out. I questioned if it was even worth it. (Welcome to being DOWN.)
Clarity comes & more change
After a few days spent in this foggy and burdened state, I prayed for guidance. I brought my plans and my goals to the Lord and told him what I wanted to do. I asked him to confirm what I had planned to make sure I was on the right path.
The answer I got was not what I was expecting.
Instead of a, "Yes Jen, this is great, start moving," I was clearly guided to move in a different direction. What I had put as a secondary priority was meant to actually be my biggest priority.
Once I received this answer, even though it meant needing to rework my plans, I instantly felt peace. My body literally softened.
I shared my impressions with my (hugely empathic) husband, and he said he could actually feel the calmness from me instead of the overwhelm that had been there. (Back being UP again!)
Now that I had even more clarity on my goals, I was able to get to work and adjust my plans and start focusing for a time.
An emotional crash
We had a wonderful Christmas holiday with family. Then, as we do every year, my husband and I spent an afternoon planning out our personal and relationship goals for 2019. That went beautifully, and it felt really good to connect and talk about our shared vision. No overwhelm here! (And feeling so good to still be UP.)
A few days later, I experienced a major DOWN again. A discussion with my husband one morning triggered something within me and I wasn't able to shake it. I spent the rest of the day in a negative state. I tried to focus on positive things, I listened to uplifting talks, and I changed my thoughts and my focus to sending out love to others.
These things only worked for a short time.
Sometimes we need to stop and process things.
I spent the next 4 days focused on healing. Issues I thought I had healed came back up again. Hello to insecurity, confusion, and anger.
This made me feel like a failure. I'd done a ton of work this past year, so why was the same stuff still here?? Lots of tears and time in my pjs.
I did a bunch of things to help me figure it out and feel what was going on inside. I talked with my husband. I turning on music and simply moved freely. I got a wonderful myofascial release session (another incredible form of energy healing and great way to release past physical and emotional trauma). I went for a hike. I meditated.
As I did these things, I didn't instantly feel better. I had moments of UP and DOWN, vacillating back and forth. But it felt like I was making process. I felt that I was in the middle of a transition between two poles, working to find that middle space where I wanted to be.
I came to understand that I had actually experienced a LOT of healing, but this was just deeper layers coming to the surface that were ready to be dealt with.
I heard clearly that I needed to allow myself more time to process all that I was experiencing and doing on a daily basis.
Often we spend so much time doing that we don't take the time we need to just be, to ponder and relax and sleep and enjoy life.
I am definitely a person who likes to "do." I struggle with the idea that going for a walk or embracing play and fun is actually going to help me reach my goals. Sure, exercise is good for my heart and my muscles, but it can actually help me be more effective at creating and healing? I fight against that one.
What's the point? Why bother?
All of these UPs and DOWNs are normal.
In 2012, I made a decision to embrace change and growth. I decided to open the black box and look deep inside of myself and see what was there. I decided I was done being who I was with all of the fears I had and I wanted to shine.
That idea scared the crap out of me!
It scares most people, which is why they don't do it. Life before this decision was in many ways much easier. Ignorance isn't bliss, it's just ignorance. But it's not fulfillment or joy.
It's easier to go through the motions day after day. It's easier to work at a job you don't love but have a steady, known paycheck coming in. It's easier to stay in a bad relationship than move out and start over. It's easier to sit on the couch and binge watch another show than it is to get up and get out and meet new people.
Until one day, it's not.
Until one day, it hurts more to stay where you are. One day, you can't stand your job and you don't care about that check, and you decide you'll get another check somewhere else where you actually feel happy. And one day, it's less painful to take a risk and meet new people than it is to stay at home watching TV again.
Embracing change and growth takes courage.
The media would have us believe that it's a short, simple process between leaving behind your old self and creating your new self. Buy this! You'll feel gorgeous, be wealthy, and have a perfect relationship in 6 short weeks!
The truth isn't so enticing. It's harder to sell.
The truth is that it takes work. It takes time. Lots of time. More time than you probably want. Definitely more time than I want! (ah, patience......)
It's a process of allowing and feeling and doing great, followed by resistance and fighting and tears and feeling not so great. It's the same process as anything worthwhile in life. You get on track, you've got it figured out for a bit, then you get off track.
The key thing is - will you decide to get back on track again? Or will you allow yourself to return to that old path you were on?
For me, there is most definitely no going back. I know I'm on the right path. How do you know when you're on the right path? You feel it. I've received enough answers to prayers, dreams, and guidance, coupled with how my heart feels, to know. The thought of going back to my old way of living feels like a huge, heavy weight.
Start today. Right now. You can make the changes you desire. You can become who you want. You can do the work you want, create what you want, have the relationships you want.
It starts with a decision. Decide to go after your dreams. Decide to look within. Decide to do it again. And again. And again.
Anything worthwhile takes time, effort, work, and courage. And apparently play and fun, too.
Growth and healing take time
- Decide to take the path less traveled. Seek out people and things that will help you heal and grow.
- Cultivate courage! Acknowledge the good things you do each day.
- Recognize that you're on a life-long journey. This too shall pass. Seek after the good always.
What has made your healing journey easier for you? What has helped you the most?