I’ve had a pretty off day. Despite my best efforts to work thoroughly and thoughtfully, nothing seemed to go right. I tried to perk myself up, put a smile on my face, look on the bright side, but no amount of patience or precision made things flow the way I wanted them to. I also started to wonder what the point of it all is. The photography. The journaling. The reading. Who cares?
I know myself enough to know that this is just an ill-adjusted modus operandi. I always do this. I take on new projects. I get excited about them. I go in full force. Then, when I reach some invisible limit, when I feel like I’m running on empty, I wonder what the point of it is. Then I drop it.
Well, just because I know this is something I ‘always’ do, it doesn’t have to mean that I accept it as truth. I don’t need to give into it. It doesn’t need to be a theme of my story. I can create that boundary. So I had an off day. I will just have to accept it: I had an off day, and that’s all right. It doesn’t set the tone for my journey or what I’m trying to accomplish.
While I’m on the topic of acceptance, I’ll just go ahead and accept that things aren’t going to be perfect. Despite our best efforts, we have to allow for the possibility that things won’t turn out ideally. We don’t need to fixate on that possibility, but it would be wise to acknowledge that it exists. I’ll also have to accept that I’m not going to be perfect. Not because I don’t want to succeed or see myself accomplish goals, but because I am human. This whole thing is a trial-and-error endeavor. It’s a learning process. To expect ourselves to be perfect or to have all the answers or to feel all the enthusiasm and all the motivation at all hours of the day and night is just unrealistic, not to mention exhausting, and it sets us up for failure.
Sometimes, powering through isn’t the answer. In fact, it can be the exact opposite. And it can be exhausting. Forcing it can deplete our energy, and leave us feeling bitter by day’s end. Sometimes, we just need to be present and accepting of whatever is. There are times when powering through is useful, and without it we might be a little less courageous in our daily lives. But, when we feel like we are up against an insurmountable wall that doesn’t seem to budge despite our noblest efforts, powering through can be a willful kind of ignorance, a hard and fast way of patching up our conflict without arriving at a real solution.
At these times, perhaps the best we can do is be present, lean in to what we’re going through rather than take part in a reactionary song and dance. To lean in is not to give in, it is not to surrender to whatever shadowy mood or thought creeps into our minds. Instead, to lean in is to be with, to become acquainted with, to mull over. When we lean in we create a space of acceptance, where we perhaps learn something valuable about ourselves and where we are currently. It helps us become a little more resilient to the anxieties of life.