Thursday, 15 May 2014

Challenging yourself

Stourhead Garden

 My thoughts lately have been focused on doing things that are hard. I'm talking about decisions, not unpreventable misfortunes. What are the necessary miseries in life? What are the things we need to endure that make us stronger? Sometimes it's difficult to know if I'm doing what's right when it's making everyone, including myself, miserable.

Challenging myself has never been easy. I always feel like I've made the wrong decision when things get hard or that I'm not good enough and should have never given myself such ridiculous expectations. When I make a weighty decision, I usually feel I have chosen the right path. But some paths don't turn out the way I thought they would. They don't seem bad to begin with. They even seem great, which is why I initially made the choice. But then that one decision takes over my life like a storm, and I quickly come to the point where I don't care how much I have to leave behind to get out of it, as long as I can find shelter. Only until the storm has passed can I finally evaluate with a level head.

Recently I made a decision where there were very few moments I actually enjoyed what I was doing. Even though the product was good, the process was one stressor after another that wasn't worth my time or the money, but even now I can't say I regret it (although I wouldn't do it again!). It was a valuable learning experience for me, and it changed the way I see myself for the better.

I learned many valuable lessons through this experience, but one of my most meaningful is knowing that just because consequences are sometimes hard, doesn't mean I made the wrong choice. My life may have been temporarily thrown out of balance because of this decision, but the experience helped me to realize and more firmly establish my priorities and know what I want and of what I am capable. Ironically, the experience brought more balance to my life, and for that I am grateful.

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