Challenges change you

Most people could probably guess it by the content of my blog alone, but I’m a pretty proactive, results-oriented person. I’m big on goal-setting and going after  things with a lot of gusto. It’s probably just part of the territory of having a Type A personality.

Unfortunately, life often gets in the way and a life lesson I’m constantly reminded of is that I can’t control everything (try as I might…). I’m likely to encounter just as many challenges (like training for a 5K, though I’m happy to report that the mental aspect is getting better) as I do successes. That’s life.

Lately, though, it feels like my life has been a lot of one step forward and two steps back. And I hate that feeling (hence the taking control declaration, though now it’s the things that I can’t change that are getting to me).

I’ve been reading Eat Pray Love again for the umpteenth time trying to perspective, and this morning I was a bit caught off guard by how much this quote struck me:

“Yoga is about self-mastery and the dedicated effort to haul your attention away from your endless brooding over the past and your nonstop worrying about the future so that you can seek, instead, a place of eternal presence from which you may regard yourself and your surroundings with poise.”

I’m not interested in the means (yoga) so much as I am the ends in this message. I love the whole concept of it. I’ll admit I’ve been doing a lot of brooding (especially while jogging) and worrying (you name it, I’ve probably worried about it). And the thing is, it never helps. I don’t come away feeling better or having a sound solution. It just leads to more negative emotions, which let’s be honest, no one really needs.

That’s not to say I shouldn’t think about the past or try to plan for my future. But I think it’s important to keep everything in perspective and to avoid dwelling to the best of my ability (which admittedly is hard for someone who over-analyzes everything. And I mean everything). I can’t change the past anymore than I can predict the future. Plus I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so sometimes I just need to give up my controlling tendencies and run with it.

What makes that difficult, I think, is that it can be incredibly hard to stay motivated and in the present and positive when things are crappy, even when you’re a goal-oriented optimist. In fact, it’s a heck of a lot easier to wallow in self-pity and be mad at the world. Especially when you’re a Type A optimist who wants hard work to pay off in the end.

But that would be too easy. The true challenge and what often sets people apart is overcoming that heartbreaking, disappointing or just sucky situation. That’s what changes you, and often for the better. And that’s what I need to keep in mind. Even if I’m not making the steps forward that I’d like to see, at least I’m still moving and learning from it. That in itself is progress.



About dakotalizzie

I'm a twentysomething young professional living in Nebraska. My blog centers on the things I love - my family, dogs, friends, crafting, cooking, life chats and health. All these things help me lead the good life, and isn't that really what it's all about?

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