Whether you give up on all your goals or pursue them with everything you have, the world around you keeps going. It seems like everyone is doing everything everywhere. It seems like everywhere I turn someone is getting married, having children, or reaching their career goals. It’s so easy to get lost in what everyone else is doing because it looks so…nice. In March, I fell off track. I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted from exercise, writing or anything else so I dropped everything. I just completely stopped.
After a mediocre work day, I was scrolling through Instagram when my friend’s post came up. The photo and caption are both so simple, but they hit so hard. Though his post focused more on perseverance and growth, it made me consider the importance of being quiet. I’m a talker. I hate small talk because I’m awkward, but I love to talk. Regardless of whether it’s about stars, food, or cracks in the concrete, I love to talk. When I’m having a hard time with certain things I prefer to talk through them regardless of whether I’m talking to someone else or seeking expert advice from myself, I talk. The day I saw that photo I received a rejection email from a job I’d recently interviewed for. I wanted to cry and talk but I was at work so I opted out of the convo and crying session. Instead, I blinked a billion times and turned up my “Dreamville” playlist until I couldn’t hear myself think about the sting of another rejection. In that moment with J. Cole’s Friday Night Lights mixtape intro playing in my ears, I was quiet. Aside from the few words coming through my earbuds, my mind was completely quiet for about thirty seconds. It was like I’d pressed a reset button and was allowing myself to process more than just that moment.
That thirty seconds and this photo made me realize how powerful silence can be. It helped me bring my focus back to what truly matters to me and not what looks good on other people. The fact is, I needed to be honest with myself. What was I doing to make me see the results of my exercise? (Side note: I was overeating during meals and rewarding myself with snack cakes/candy bars when I’d complete a mediocre workout so there’s that…) Why was I being so critical of everything I wrote, instead of enjoying the therapeutic feeling of clearing my mind of things that I couldn’t talk about? What made me ready for the job that I wanted so bad? Did I even truly want the job or did I just want the job because of how it would look? If it wasn’t for silence, I would probably still be pouting over the fact that things aren’t going the way that I expected them to go.
I’m finally out of that slump! The first step was honesty; the second step was action. Don’t make the action more difficult than it has to be by telling yourself that you can’t do it or focusing on your previous failures. When it came time for me to act, I allowed all types of negative thoughts to keep me from doing what I knew I needed to do for months! Ultimately, I learned that I had to take a moment to be quiet every once in a while. In my quiet moment, I brag to myself about my accomplishments, forgive myself for the mistakes that I’ve made that I can’t seem to let go of, write down two things that I’m grateful for, and take a final moment to breathe because the best is yet to come.
“Real, sustainable change doesn’t happen in a moment. It’s a process.”
-John C. Maxwell, Today Matters