I think I’ve cracked it. I think I know why, or at least partially why, I’ve been unable or unwilling to live in the present, until now. Call it amnesia, a lack or awareness, or not knowing how to appreciate the steady progress I’ve made. Because I’m not a millionaire, I lost and gained weight, or don’t have a husband, I decided that the present is awful. In my harshest moments I saw myself as loser.
The Social Media Trap
By strongly undervaluing my recent accomplishments — lecturing at a top Canadian university for over a year, expanding my English literacy client base, paying for dental insurance, having my credit card limit increased, drawing daily for the first time in over 25 years — and negatively comparing these achievements to what I see in my social media feeds — people clinking wine glasses or attending “cool” events — I convinced myself that my present wasn’t worth acknowledging let alone celebrating. Was I wrong. This “somebody-nobody” binary still has currency and needs overturning, now.
Not celebrating “unsexy” progress is a symptom of self neglect that took root in childhood where there was little celebration from my late father. He didn’t know any better. But I do NOW. By having the courage to ask myself why I didn’t want to live in the present, I got the information that I needed to take action. I can’t underscore the importance, the necessity, of writing every day and asking yourself courageous, direct, uncomfortable questions. This is what I’ve been doing in the PRESENT and not appreciating because I thought my milestones were not sexy, juicy or chocolaty enough.
What have you celebrated lately? Have you been kinder to yourself, people at work? Are you more patient with your spouse or children? Have you decided to get help with an addiction? Are you writing that play you’ve always wanted? Then, today, now, I ask you to look in the mirror and thank yourself. Do what a good parent or friend would do for you and you for them. Write yourself a loving note (shout out to Danielle from Naked with Anxiety for that great idea). The note you always dreamed of getting. It’ll give you appreciation, self-compassion and perspective. We’ve come a long way. Don’t let anyone or any one thing tell you otherwise.