I was feeling pissed off with myself for not fitting in as much pilates practice as I intended – somehow five days had gone by and I hadn’t done any at all. I finally got round to doing it, and as I did so, I remembered that twenty five years ago, I didn’t do any pilates at all – it wasn’t even on my radar. And ten years ago, I rarely practised at all between lessons. And five years ago, I might do one practice in between lessons. Yet now, the new normal was practising three or four times a week, which is why I was disappointed with myself. Sod that! I’ve made lots of progress!
Most of us do not take great leaps forward in our evolution into being who we really are or how we want to be – we take two steps forward and one step back. So it’s easy to notice the step back, and forget to count the step forward we made anyway, and then we are discouraged.
So I think it’s time we noticed the overall trend, rather than the slips that happen along the way.
It’s as if we have a combination of the tortoise and the hare, from Aesop’s fables. We have a hare that rushes forward, and then gets tired and falls asleep, or gets distracted and goes in another direction, while our tortoise just plods along, slowly but surely covering the ground.
In order to recognise our progress, we need to pay attention to the tortoise rather than the hare, even though the hare is far more distracting and obvious, with its rushes hither and thither, and its frequent collapses!
Over the years, we get better at some things without necessarily realising it, because it happens slowly, small steps at a time. I know I am better at recognising reasons to feel good about myself and my life than I used to be. I am better at finding fewer things to worry about unnecessarily, and at getting past that worry when I do get caught by it. I am less prone to bad moods or being upset or miserable, and more prone to laugh at the absurdity of some aspects of life here on earth. And I’m better at Pilates!!
This form of progress is only really noticeable when you look back over years, if not decades – day by day it’s hard to notice because that tortoise of ours moves slowly!
So pay some attention to your tortoise: what progress has it made over the last five to ten years? It deserves that recognition, and will gradually help you to grow into who you really are.