They say nothing good ever comes easy, and man, do I believe that.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the concept of time. Time. The one thing none of us can slow down or speed up; the one thing we can all agree is valuable.
I realized recently that all hard things take time. Not just good things, because some bad things take time, too. But in general, all difficult and important and things-that-can't-be-done-overnight things take time.
When's the last time that something important or impactful or life-changing came quickly? Winning the lottery can happen in an instant, sure, but even collecting your earnings and filing the taxes and managing the money takes time.
We're all in the trenches right now. Between a global health crisis, clear and obvious racism in the world, the uncertainty of our nation surrounding the upcoming presidential election, and the fact that most have us been stuck inside for the past six months, I think we can all agree that none of us are living our best lives.
And how have we been spending these six months? People I know and love have lost their jobs, their mental stability, their general sense of security, and the ability to see their loved ones without the use of 21st-century technology. Because of these things, many of those same people have lost the chance to take this time as an "opportunity" for self-improvement in any form. How could there be any time to focus on personal or professional development when you're just trying to get through the day in one piece?
Studies show that mental health is suffering across the country -- even the CDC has an entire section dedicated to information on coping with stress and anxiety. And yet, everyone I know is critiquing themselves and what they are doing (or not doing) to get through this. But guess what? Starting a new fitness regimen or finding a therapist or taking time to meditate or writing a novel or starting grad school or committing to a good cause or learning to quit drinking or to eat healthy or to stay off social media for more than 10 minutes is difficult even in the best of times. And now is certainly not the best of times!
This is a time for giving ourselves grace. For acknowledging that we're all experiencing a level of trauma, and that we're all experiencing it differently. It's a time for accepting that 2020 wasn't the year we planned for, and while it has, in fact, been a complete dumpster fire, it hasn't been a complete wash.
You may not have had time for self-improvement in the traditional sense, but I hope you've taken the time to give your heart, mind, and soul what it needs. To turn off the news when you feel overwhelmed or to look into tele-therapy or to get back into that hobby that makes you happy but gets pushed down the priority list when life is busy and "normal."
I hope you've learned how strong you are, how much you matter, and how to love yourself and treat yourself with respect and dignity.
I know this won't happen overnight. Just as self-improvement takes time, practicing self-love and giving yourself grace will take time.
Hard things take time. But you're worth it.