The very first step to making changes in any area of your life is to recognize that a change needs to be made. This is the foundation upon which any habit is formed or broken. What is difficult to accept is that, following this initial breakthrough, the remainder of the journey is not a straight shot home. Continuing metaphorically, that is to say that there are times when we find ourselves no longer headed in the right direction. We may have made a wrong turn without realizing it, because we weren’t paying attention, or simply because we thought it was the right way, when it turned out not to be. In short, there are times when we become lost, frustrated, and angry with ourselves for allowing it to happen. Why didn’t we just use GPS, instead of insisting that we could make it on our own?
Well, outside of this road trip analogy, unfortunately there is no GPS. There’s no instruction manual for our existence; we cannot rely on anything to guide us apart from our own judgment and intuition. The most discouraging thing about all of this is realizing that it’s not always simple to decode what our soul is attempting to tell us. We may get a gut feeling about something, but it’s impossible to know every single time whether this is our intuition guiding us into or away from a situation, or whether it’s simply our conscious mind recalling a past feeling or memory. We can never know for certain until after the situation has played itself out whether or not we have made the best decision for ourselves.
This makes it extraordinarily difficult to navigate through life. It makes it seem next to impossible that we will ever make the right decisions. But think back for one moment on a time in your life when you were feeling extremely stressed about something, whether it was money, a relationship, a job, etc., etc. Try to imagine how anxious this situation made you feel, how it was as if things would never work themselves out, that the negative circumstances would never transform. Then, try to imagine how that situation ended. What was the outcome? Was the issue ever resolved, or are you still suffering from this? If you answered yes to the former, then you are capable of understanding the fact that no matter how seemingly hopeless or incapable of resolution a circumstance may be, there is always a sigh of relief that comes at the end. No matter what the issue may have been, it’s safe to assume that if everything was resolved, you experienced that feeling of heaviness being lifted off of your chest.
The point of this is that, no matter what you’re dealing with in the present moment, no matter the severity of your circumstances, when everything is said and done, there comes a sense of relief. Peace. Understanding. Growth. When we are able to take every “wrong turn,” so to speak, and transform what seems to be a solely terrible situation into a learning opportunity, our perspective of life is altered. We no longer feel absolutely helpless. We understand that not everything is wonderful one-hundred percent of the time.
Chances are likely that if you’re here and reading this, you’ve already made the most important step of the journey: deciding that a change needs to be made in your life. I’m so proud of you for this. Now, please don’t confuse my encouragement with a claim that, from here on out, everything will be peachy keen and positive in every single moment. “Bad” things will still happen, and “wrong turns” will still be made. Just because we have made the decision to change our perspective, that does not mean that we will always possess a positive mindset. It’s not a straight shot home, friends. We will make wrong turns. We will feel lost at times. But when the end of the journey arrives, we will know that it was not all in vain. We reached our goal. We accomplished the thing that we told ourselves we would. But there will always be new adventures, new journeys, and new learning opportunities that arise.
Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged when things aren’t perfect. Nothing in this life is as such. I personally have days when I feel like I’ve taken a million steps backwards, despite the several steps I may have taken in the right direction. I can’t allow this to push me to the point of giving up. I know my happiness will not be automatic every single day. I know that there will still be times when I feel lost. There will still be moments of doubt and confusion, and I must take these moments as they come and persist nevertheless.
And so must you. Do not become so consumed by disappointment in yourself that you forget what you’re setting out to do. You will persist. You will achieve the things that you set your mind to, no matter how often you may feel that you’ll never “arrive.” A wise man I know always says, “The journey is the goal,” and we mustn’t forget this.
We got this.