A couple things that occurred to me today about paradigm shifts and discipline.
Have you ever had people in your life who reach out to you one out of three hundred and sixty five days? Usually on or around your birthday or a major holiday, these people will send a quick “thinking of you” text that has a small window of opportunity in which you can respond and start a dialogue. Shocking, I know. Do you know these people? Have one or a slew of them in your life? I have a few. Typically, the day after I hear from one of them, I get this awful feeling inside. It’s a combination of guilt and shame that I don’t understand because as far as I know I haven’t done anything wrong! But the feeling is there gumming up my usually cheerful demeanor.
This morning, I mulled over a recent interaction I had with a couple of folks. Why did I feel bad? How was it that these people who have nothing to do with me all year long end up having such a hold over me? It’s not like they said anything to upset me.
Them: Hope you’re having a special day. I hope I didn’t wake you.
Me: I’m well thanks. No you didn’t. It’s evening here.
See how I did that? I was polite. I assured them they hadn’t woken me from a sound (and rare) sleep. I even gave them information about the time zone I was in. It was the perfect opportunity to have a conversation.
But nothing happened. Let me rephrase that. Nothing new happened. We’ve had these kinds of exchanges before. Nothing mean is ever said, it’s the silence that hurts.
Today it hit me. I don’t get upset because of anything the person has said, I get upset because once again I’ve gotten my hopes up that this time, this text will lead somewhere. Bridges will be rebuilt, relationships will be restored, and this will be it.
And every time I get my hopes up, nothing changes. The conversation (albeit it short) ends abruptly as soon as I respond to the initiating text. Every. Single. Time. Then, I end up feeling bad and sad and ashamed of myself because why, oh why do these people hate me? What have I done to make them stop talking to me as quickly as they’ve started? Every. Single. Time.
Today though, I experienced a paradigm shift.
I don’t need to get my hopes up.
Do I want things to change? Absolutely. That would be divine. But, I don’t need to continue wasting good, positive vibes on people who have no interest in changing. So here’s how I handled it today.
I stopped feeling guilty and ashamed.
I stopped fretting about why these people have zero interest in having a relationship with me.
I reminded myself that I responded to the text which means I still believe in doing my part in forgiving, moving on, loving, and all that mushy stuff.
I reminded myself that I can rest easy knowing I didn’t respond with bitterness or anger but that I spoke with kindness.
Because if three hundred and sixty-four days from now a new text doesn’t come, I’ll know my last words were nice ones that opened the door to a possible friendship.
The other thing I learned today is that it’s all about discipline and that discipline can be implemented in many parts of my life. I just have to be purposeful about it.
For over a month now, I’ve been a runner. I’ve worked up to running four times a week and love it. Some days I love it more than others, but it’s for me. It’s for my health, for me to have time exercising my puppy, for my longevity. It’s good for me.
Two days ago, I decided to incorporate discipline into my education. Homework in the morning, in the afternoon at lunch, and again in the evening. It doesn’t have to be much –an hour here, an hour there. The point is I have to be purposeful about it. I have to set alarms, pencil it into the calendar, and make myself do the work.
Do I enjoy it every time? No. Sometimes the assignments are hard and frustrating. Sometimes I make mistakes in my homework. Big deal. I’m not perfect. I’m not a robot. And sometimes things are hard.
What is a big deal?
That I’m doing it. That I’m making the effort. That sometimes I write something that’s good or I learn something that’s new and will make me a better writer.
These are things that matter. I can rest easy tonight knowing I did my best with people and with my education.
Paradigm shifts and discipline, these are what made my day today.
What about you? Any monumental musings or even small accomplishments? Be proud of what you’ve done and try again tomorrow.