As I turn the page on another year (happy birthday, Lindsay!) and look at what I’ve achieved so far with this blog, I really want to focus on improving my negative attitude toward myself. I want to continue to remove the blinders I seem to have, which lead to getting stuck with tunnel vision.
I’ve been reflecting on the yearbook comments I received and the resulting blog post. Throughout my life I’ve had a tendency to get so caught up in a few details, in insignificant things, that I miss the big picture.
Maybe we won the basketball game, but all I can focus on are the shots missed instead of the ones I made. Or perhaps I got a 95 on a test, but I mentally beat myself up for the stupid mistake that lost me 5 points.
Or in the case of the “you’re sweet” yearbook comments, I zero in on the handful of moments when I wasn’t nice and kind instead of recognizing the hundreds when I was.
Once again it’s seeking perfection that can never be found.
Or as a counselor put it: When can “good enough” be good enough?
It’s not that I stop trying to improve but that I need to find ways to be happy with the current progress being made — the journey — instead of only waiting for the finished product, especially if that finished product is never enough.
I asked my friend Erika over at Dorky Mom Doodles to put a visual together for me so I could get a better look at what I’m doing. (PS: It’s awesome when off-screen friends can connect in the blog world. Check out her blog and doodles for a humorous look at parenting.)
Words aren’t always enough. Sometimes you need a picture.
It was a spontaneous request inspired by a conversation I’d just had with someone about “missing the forest for the trees.” Erika nailed the drawing, but the full impact might not be obvious to everyone.
To fully appreciate it …
Imagine you’re walking in a forest and you come to a special group of trees. These particular trees are a representation of your life, the fruit of your efforts. If you keep standing and staring at the tree without fruit, you’re going to get discouraged.
When I look at this image, I want to scream at the girl: Broaden your view!! Look around! Don’t you see all the other ways you are producing fruit, having an impact?!
Maybe that tree in front represents an attempt to correct a lifelong bad habit. You’ve planted seeds, obviously, because there’s a tree. But maybe you aren’t seeing actual results yet, that sweet-tasting fruit of success and change. It’s easy to get discouraged if the tree isn’t producing in the way you’re expecting it to, but it’s important to remember that change takes time. It’s not going to be an overnight transition.
What kind of fruit is hanging from your trees? Do you find yourself staring at a seemingly barren tree, or do you have a healthier, more balanced view of yourself?
If, like me, you tend to focus on the negative, it may be time to give yourself permission to look around at the growth and fruit that is visible. Celebrate those efforts, and then come back to an area where you’re struggling and set some new goals.