I stop myself from writing posts like these because in the act of writing them, I judge myself for whatever I might say. I second guess my words. I dismiss them. I think I should edit it, and then edit it a whole bunch of times more, and I think about how after I have edited a post many times and then published it, when I later read it I start to cringe. I no longer like what I have written.
So I stop myself from doing it in the first place. Or I stop myself because everything seems to have already been expressed by writers that I consider to be better writers. Clearly, self-esteem is not something I have enough of.
I do the same thing with my art. Even as I improve, I get to a point where all I can see are the flaws, and then I think I couldn’t possibly post anything because it’s ALL DOWNHILL FROM THERE. And I know this is a bit silly and I know these feelings are common, but that doesn’t prevent me from feeling them.
So I should do it anyway. Write anyway. Draw anyway. Be anyway.
In the last month or two, I have been re-directing myself towards being here right now. Nothing novel in the idea. We read this concept everywhere. But reading about these things and desiring to make these changes and setting these good habits is different than actually practicing these habits.
Recently one of my sons expressed that he feels like he set himself back to zero because he was doing so well with behavioral choices for a few days and then made some really poor choices. I told him that he had been practicing making good choices and then when he made the poor ones, that didn’t throw that practice out the window. He could get right back to practicing the good ones. He could get good at those good habits and then perhaps it would be longer stretches of time in between the poor choices.
As I told him that I knew I was also talking to myself. I had lost my temper a few times lately, and I had also neglected practices that benefit me, like writing. Nothing dramatic.
I read posts by people who seem to have it all figured out. I have written posts that seem to suggest that I, too, have figured things out. Perhaps this one will come across that way. But what I want to say here is as much for me as for anyone that might read it: I have not figured it all out and that’s alright. I know the practices that help me be rooted in the moment, the practices that help me treat others as I should treat them, and I know I will keep coming back to those practices.
I have a want to be like my heroes. I want to follow their example. But if I really want to follow their example, I need to remind myself that they, too, struggled at times. We think they figured it all out, but in reality it’s just that they kept practicing and they got better at the practice.
I will not edit this post. I will save that self-judgement for my fiction. I will let these words stand as they are, real and slightly raw.
What do you want to practice?