Author: Kara Ann-Marie Smith
Keep going; A phrase in which I struggle to trust and keep to.
“To persevere and to endure the resistance that normal life has, and gives.”
Keep going: to have to rise above the wind and waves and ups and downs.
Here’s a cheesy but oh so true statement; it’s not about falling, it’s about how you get back up.
I have discovered that I am really good at falling at the first hurdle.
Often with things which I want to achieve, I stop or demand perfection before even starting. Then I convince myself that it is not fair and that no one else has things as hard as me.
I chatted with a wise man a few weeks ago. He was telling me and a few others about how millennials are incredible because of their ability to think outside the box, and to not be satisfied with the status quo but to be dreamers, inventors, business owners etc
He said, however, that if they had the work ethic of his great-grandfather then this world would be a wholly different place.
We millennials need to have endurance and choose to work hard, not just feel entitled to what our minds think we can have/deserve.
I found myself stunned and embarrassed because I know where I have fallen at the first hurdle and just given up.
Even in writing this very blog, I ignored it for a few days because I didn't want to fail at it.
I think it is so interesting that I have so many dreams, desires and ideas, but oh how I struggle to put in the hard work to fulfil them.
Many things I have not continued to build, and are simply left as a post-it note idea. They are stuck all over my notebooks, journals and diaries, and cover over blank pages with colour just to get my dream out my head.
I have often thought my hands and my heart are ‘not ready’ but actually, these conclusions were influenced by my fear of man and lack of self-confidence.
They have been like a dog restrained on a leash, just close enough to sometimes nip me. I have been nipped far too many times to count, which has caused me retract.
Allowing these things to influence and impact my life has made me fall at many hurdles, which results in me living my life out of fear instead of the very desire I wanted in the first place.
Like being cold towards my husband or forgetting to pay my phone bill, in a good shame-based moment I can satisfy myself (by myself) with fantasy. Or a whole bag of Oreo cookies. In truth, both will never suffice.
All these are behaviours that come when I forgot who I am and whose I am.
I want to embrace myself, flaws and all; That which makes me human.
In the same way that the Japanese fix a crack in pottery with molten gold, I also want to see my brokenness mended.
Seeing the real tangible change in myself has been one highest mountain peaks to climb. It’s probably been my excuse for doing all the things I don't want to do, and not doing the things I want to do. In this slow ascent of my mountain of self, I’ve found something I want to explore fully but be done climbing all at the same time.
In my experiences of self-acceptance so far I sense the frustration in me. A feeling that grates me, a feeling that I want to get rid of instantly, one that I do not want to accept.
Frustration! Oh, what a beautiful thing.
How often I feel it tie knots in my stomach, with an added swell of failure and anxiety.
Frustration is defined as; the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.
As a child, I was known in my friendship group as being the slow one, not in intelligence but in pace (I hope). I walked slow, noticeably slower than all my friends.
When I was younger it didn't really matter, because where did I need to go in a hurry?
Home to do my homework?
However, as I have grown I have wanted change and to achieve just like anyone else in life: Aspirations for business, education, habits, health etc
The journey continues with all those things and will continue forever. (I will need more self-discipline and self-acceptance in that.)
I have learnt to shake hands with frustration.
It is a flag to my mind, body and spirit.
Frustration flares up with me with where I am on my journey, and if I am in a place I don't want to stay. The pangs of longing and hope can verge into a hope deferred, which makes my whole filter skewed and my sense of purpose diminished and demobilised.
However, frustration, whilst not the most upbeat of emotions, can say a lot more than upset.
Frustration shouts out cheers and cries to keep going in the things that we truly want in life. The things that we have tucked away so deeply but never forget; We pine after them and yearn for them to be a true tangible reality.
Whether it is growing your hair an inch, losing 10 pounds, changing careers or being constant within a relationship (all things I have desired and found myself frustrated in one season or another).
The interesting thing I find about myself in tracking with my own frustration is the scent of failure that can come when I have forgotten what I want and who I want to be.
The feelings are real, and they take cheap shots. Because the desire for purpose and for the true you to be at the forefront of who we are is where every human being finds rest.
The grit that is needed to not allow frustration turn into disappointment is the clarity to see the difference. I still don't always see it, which demands me to be vulnerable with friends and family who can hold my dreams and desires for me when I can’t. And for them to give me the truth smackdown when I am demobilised and stuck.
Clarity comes when we INVITE people who know us to remind us of who we are and why we are pursuing our dreams and desires.
They remind us that it’s not just 10 pounds; it’s so you can experience what loving yourself really is.
It’s the friend who is INVITED to text you to remind you to take time to write the blog or workout because they know you, not just want you to want to achieve.
Something I have found in the challenge of vulnerability is that if you aren't allowing people to know you then they simply cannot.
It often felt harder to me to tell my friends what I was excited for and deeply wanted in my life, than recalling the hardships and low moments. The dreams and desires if shared (and made real) could result in failure or disappointment.
In my experience disappointment has kept me stationary in the areas which I have wanted to grow.
Disappointment can be defined as being sad or displeased because someone or something has failed to fulfil one's hopes or expectations.
I believe that where frustration tells us that we are on the right track and need to keep going, disappointment reveals that we have stopped because of pain or fear of it.
I don't have the formula to get around disappointment; it is a painful thing and I am not overlooking that; I am simply separating the two.
I know there are areas in my life in which I am still stationary and want to see movement. This isn't to get to a place of perfection. For me, it is actually to press into and be present to my frustrations, because it reveals the beauty of being resilient and vulnerable.
To be known and seen, to endure and to mend, to make our frustrations become a skill that is strong enough to leap over the hurdles of disappointment.
I was known for walking slow as a kid. And I am determined to make walking slow in this journey a positive, so I can be present in my beautiful humanity.
That, to me, fills me with a wholeness of purpose. Not being numbed or remaining stationary, but alive to not just good: Alive to the strength that is inside every human being.
My aim is to live a life that is slow enough to see myself as I am, and fast enough to not get too stuck.
Join me, and Keep going.