Everyone falls into patterns that no longer serve us. We return to our family home and revert to the same childhood dynamics; we tell ourselves just take three deep breaths during a fight with a friend and still can't quell our volatility.
Admitting our shortcomings can be difficult because it's hard to accept that there are aspects of ourselves that might make someone we love love us less. The more that I meditate, the more I am able to encounter what I need to change and forgive myself for not being there quite yet. I don't have to wish things were different; I can actively work toward being less reactive and more mindful.
It also helps to remember that each of us wrestles with stuff. Those who truly care about you will understand that you can't always do it "right"—in the same way you understand that when a loved one has a bad moment (or month) it's not the whole of who they are. I know I don't always act in ways that are kind or generous or thoughtful. But I still think I am a caring person who loves fiercely and tries hard. I think we all trying our hardest.
I had a light switch moment last week while walking through the woods. You know those moments—it's as if suddenly, everything you logically know you suddenly feel. The worn cliche makes sense. Your mother's words have new meaning. As I scaled a cliff, I thought about how despite this year's hardships, despite the loneliness and confusion and the hunger for clarity, despite the many times I had messed up, despite the relationship that I had lost and the homes I had left behind, I was finally in a place where I truly loved the person I was growing into.
There are a lot of things about myself that I want to better. Part of that growth stems from admitting what I need to work on and making peace with the past. And part of it is rooted in a willingness to be unafraid to love who I am. I think I'm really only able to make beautiful my not-so-pretty parts when I focus on cultivating what I already appreciate about myself. If I want to be less anxious about money, it helps to nurture the part of myself that enjoys sending surprise presents to friends. If I want to be less reactive, it helps to tap into my mindfulness practice. I am trying to respond to "gaps" in my character by growing what's already good.
Sometimes I worry I'm just not doing enough to be better. I want to get out more but navigating my adopted city without a car is difficult. I want all of my friends to move close by because I miss being understood. Simply. I want everything to fall into place faster. And then I think of what Lily so often says to me; that a lot of the time in our life, it's just about micromovements. Those little things add up. Every time I say yes to late-night nachos with a neighbor, every time I make an effort to volunteer with 1to1, I'm setting another brick into the community I'm building.
We can acknowledge what we want to better by choosing to give more light and air to what it is we already love within us. We don't have to beat ourselves up (guilty as I am of that). We can make micromovements. We can radiate gentle care and deep trust. And we can remind ourselves and one another that we are basically good.