Learning To Be good

For so many years, as far back as I can recall, I've never believed myself to be good or successful at anything. Not in relationships or the work I have done, not at being a mum or a daughter. My accomplishments are always at the darker corners of my mind, not brought out as often as the mistakes.
On the odd occasion that I do acknowledge being good at anything, I ruin the moment with throwing a negative spin on it.
When I was little, younger than my littlest human, I danced.
I danced and I loved it more than anything else I've ever tried to do. There is a grace and a freedom to dancing that you never forget once you have been on stage. It's something I've only just managed to replicate over the last few months with meditation.
Looking back I didn't see or appreciate any of the positive things at the time, I took for granted being able to move the way I did and a lot of that was because I was effortlessly good at it.
That's a strange thing to verbalize, to put the words down and believe them, but I was good without trying.
I didn't realize then that I was successful at something, I didn't realize until recently what success really meant.
A girl that moved into my classes the year I was to leave wasn't the nicest person and me being a naturally anxious human from conception started to avoid going whenever I could. The whispering and pointing and sometimes blatant cruel remarks were something I still haven't found a way to get past.
Leaving my dance class was the biggest regret I've ever had. I didn't work hard enough to keep a hold of something that gave me a lot of pleasure and that was silly.
Over the last few days, I've been thinking about the way I look back at my years dancing and wonder why, when I can look back now at the joy it gave me, the number of exams and shows I took part in, have I been looking at it as another failure to add to the list.
Ok, I no longer dance and I do feel regret at giving it up because of the behaviour of someone else, but the perception I have built around my accomplishments and success now seems a little silly.
Just because you no longer do something doesn't equate to failure.
A word I use too frequently to describe myself.
It shouldn't take away from how well you have done something or the time you put into it.
People give up on things for all kinds of reasons and just keep going, confident that they achieved what they did, and knowing they will take the experience with them to grow on.
I think "failing" at anything is only a valid description if we don't learn from whatever we do.
"Failing" is looking back at something you have achieved, whether it be for two minutes or twenty years and saying "I failed, I was crap,"
instead of,
"I was/am really good at that"
In a world where mental health issues dominate so many people and touch most families in some way, it really is time to be a bit kinder to ourselves. To look back at whatever we have taken on and be able to just praise ourselves.
To say well done.
Managing any mental health illness is hard. For now, I choose to tackle mine medication free.
In honesty, I'm not sure that will be something I keep up long-term because some days are more of a struggle than others, but medication would be less tempting if I remembered to be kinder to myself each day. If I only took the good things from the day and left the negatives in the past.
The language we use in our heads does tend to be critical, and that in itself isn't healthy.
Looking back on things we have done and using the word "Fail", is something we shouldn't ever be doing. Even if something we attempt doesn't work out the way we would have liked it too, usually we come away from the experience having learned a lesson.
We know where our strengths were, we know where we could have done a bit better and what we would change in the future.
Coming out of anything and not being kind enough to reflect on the good things we have gotten from it, is doing a disservice to ourselves.
From today I have set myself a daily task, to look back on the things I do with new eyes. To not let a bad experience over-rule the way I see the whole thing and to be able to acknowledge when I have been good or successful without taking it away from myself. If I keep it up long enough, I know it will stop being a task and it will just be another tool to keep me healthy.
It will be something else I am good at.
L xx


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