The Biggest Hurdle of Your Path: “I’m not There yet.”
Last week, I met a woman whom I knew from the playground next to my parents’ house when I was a kid. I was 10 years old when she saw me the last time, and you can imagine how surprised she was to see an adult woman of almost 28 in front of her.
We talked about what happened within the last 18 years, and exchanged intimate experiences. She seemed to be on the path and had been working hard on herself, her relationships and her habits. She had experienced lots of hardships in all these years. I also told her about my deep depressions and suicidal thoughts, which I had a few years ago, before I made a decision to live a happy life and follow my own heart.
The whole spiritual path, which I will rename as living a good life as a good person, is a path full of pain, struggles, worries, concerns, and by accepting those, also full of pure and unconditional happiness and love.
What surprised me the most is, when we had our conversation, and I told her how hard it was for me to break through the old habits of dramatizing everything and of swimming in self-pity and self-hatred, she always kept on telling me that she’s not that far yet. Doesn’t matter what she asked me — be it how I quit smoking, how I changed my food habits or how I choose every single day to be the best I can — she kept going on with the I’m not there yet talk. And as she looked on at me, with my words resonating with her, and kept telling me how her next project would be to quit smoking, to change her food habits, to work out more and to practice more self-love and gratitude, it gave me the fuel to think about the following:
If we are aware and know exactly what steps to take towards a better life, and what will bring peace and love into our inner and outer world, why do we keep on telling ourselves that we’re not there yet?
Everybody who ever tried to make a big change knows how hard the first steps are. We invent thousands of excuses, why we can’t do this or that, and procrastinate on improving ourselves for months, sometimes even years. And this is the reason why we become unhappy and depressed, dull, angry, unfriendly and unfulfilled. But how can we kick ass if we think that we’re not there yet? How can we shorten this span and be there faster?
I’d love to share the following thoughts and practices about being there faster:
1. Accepting where we stand: There is no I’m not there yet or I’m way too far. We are where we need to be, and there’s no other option in the now than that. The understanding of this simple is-ness is the best choice we can make because it makes all problems magically fade away. If we learn to understand that it couldn’t be any other way and we couldn’t have reacted differently, there are no regrets left, right? We did what we did, it happened as it was meant to happen. Somebody went out of our lives, because it’s better for us and we have the chance to grow stronger and wiser. We also have the choice to suffer and dive into suicidal thoughts. Being in the moment is difficult, but if we keep on practicing it, we give ourselves the permission to experience every possible feeling. And by accepting the is-ness of our feelings, we give them space to exist and to eventually disappear.
2. Being aware of constant change: Feelings will disappear, because we are in a state of constant change. Everything changes every moment in the universe, be it nature, the rivers which flow, our cells, our bodies, our minds, and thankfully, our feelings and emotions. In low moments, we forget about the change-aspect. The pain seems to stick to us forever. But the pain won’t stay, and the tears won’t run forever. I promise.
3. Understanding that there’s no other time but Now: Since I stopped focusing on time too much, I started to feel the Now intensely. I know that there’s no other time than Now, that is why I live moment by moment, and always keep in mind that the moments aren’t unlimited. The sooner we start living the life we want to live, the better we will feel about ourselves. And the better we feel about ourselves, the higher the quality of our lives, relationships and moods. If I know what area of my being could stand to be better, I take a small step now: text my mom to nurture our relationship, go for a walk, move more, eat nuts and dates instead of some sugar-bomb to balance my sugar craving, meditate 10 minutes a day (even if I want to stick to two hours a day) and so on. Small steps produce huge results. With learning five words a day, I learned two new languages. With meditating 10 minutes a day, I became much more conscious about myself, and much calmer in my reactions. Texting my mom nice words, and giving her real hugs, has ensured that our relationship has never been better.
4. Trusting ourselves first: Often our parents, friends, partners, coaches or therapists give us a feeling that there is so much work to be done. Mostly they have no idea what we experience, and can’t be empathic and sensitive enough to what we feel. But we still trust them, that we’re not there yet and have a long way to go. We trust them, but not ourselves. Crazy, isn’t it? We give all the responsibility over the quality of our life-experiences to somebody else, and pay them for that. Even if we sometimes wish to be mentally stable, we trust others that we aren’t, instead of trying to show integrity and become a mentally stable person. We say that we’re not there yet, to shake off the responsibility for our happiness from our shoulders.
Changes are never easy, and taking real actions on the way to a happy life full of passion, goodwill and love is the hardest path to take, but the most rewarding one. I follow those steps to better my own life, and I know that I’m there day by day. I’m good enough to be there. I’m there where I need to be, regardless of what happens. There are good days and not so good days, but I give myself the space to have a happy life, and I embrace the moments of loneliness, sadness and low emotional state. They’re inevitable sometimes, but they’re not eternal.
We’re always there, and we are strong enough to take the much needed steps towards our own happiness. We know what to do, it’s within us. Always was, and always will be. Why don’t we start trusting in ourselves, that we deserve the best life there is indeed? That we can be happy in spite of the negative self-picture? That it’s us who created this negative picture, and we are full of joy, love and happiness already? It’s just a little decision we have to make, then take baby steps and stick to it.
You are there. I’m there. We all are already there. Never let anybody, including yourself, question it.
Olga Chirkova was born in St. Petersburg and moved to Germany when she was nine. She believes there is no journey which is more difficult than the journey to your own true nature. It can be hard, painful, confusing, but it’s worth it. It is the most beautiful and honest journey there is. Come with her on the journey on her blog.