You have an epiphany and it isn’t a happy one: it’s that moment when you’re standing neck deep in awareness and you just can’t ignore any longer.
Maybe you’re at a routine visit to the doctor, when you’re presented with the blood test results that tell you in stark black and white that even though your skinny jeans fit fine, you need to begin eating healthier.
Or, maybe those favorite skinny jeans aren’t just a tad too tight, but won’t even button anymore.
Maybe you spend a long holiday weekend with your family, only to realize that while you are all coexisting, but not really connecting
Or, maybe you spend a long holiday weekend planning to revel in solitude, only to find that you are no longer capable of being alone with yourself, so you spend the time restless and bored, because – let’s be honest – your go-to sources of fun are Facebook and television.
Maybe that moment happens in public, when you’re out with a group of friends and realize you don’t have anything in common anymore. Even worse, you notice that all your friends tend to do is kvetch and complain.
Or, maybe that moment happens privately, as a sudden epiphany while you’re brushing your teeth or combing your hair.
Wherever and however it happens, that moment is when you say to yourself: Something has Got to Change. (And, of course you immediately begin to ask how the HELL you allowed things to get so bad.)
Oh, sugar plum. You are in a very tender and vulnerable space in this exact moment of time and I’m going to tell you the most important thing you need to do next:
Offer yourself some self-compassion. In fact, a lot of self-compassion and grace is necessary.
Remember those voices in your head: Your Inner Critic and her friends? Those voices will begin to berate you for all the signs you missed in the past.
Look. I am from a Quality Assurance background and know that understanding the root cause of problems is incredibly helpful, but darling, berating yourself about it just isn’t.
So, once you take step ONE (compassion), now it’s time to make some decisions: what’s next?
Hint: though it may be counter to what your little voices may say, you don’t have to turn your life upside down; that next step is probably small. In fact, it can miniscule. It can be so tiny that it’s mistaken for simply leaning towards what you desire instead of staying where you are.
Offer yourself more compassion.
Any step towards the kind of life you desire and the kind of change you desire to make is a courageous one, but your mind will tell you it isn’t enough (Hello, Doubt). Trust me, it is, because it allows you to gain momentum.
The number one thing that stops us from moving towards the kind of change we desire in our lives, even after we hit that rock bottom moment of “WTF have we allowed to HAPPEN?” is the LACK of compassion we extend ourselves.
You can’t make change from a place of self-loathing; lasting change requires love.
Change is possible for anyone, no matter your age, life experiences or personal history. You just have to decide that what you want is worth doing the work to get it. So, whether your goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, make any of your relationships feel more nourishing, or create a life that you’re passionate to inhabit, I promise that it’s possible.
It truly is about moving towards your desires, one small step at a time.
When you do decide to change, though, do yourself and everyone else a favor: extend love and grace to along every step you make. Because self-compassion truly is the number one most important ingredient to creating the kind of changes in your life you desire.
Better yet, with compassion comes grace and a path to loving yourself and the journey.
“When you are compassionate with yourself, you trust in your soul, which you let guide your life. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny better than you do.” –John O’Donohue