Over the weekend, I had a talk with our foster son that I think is applicable for a post. As one would expect given all he has been through (fuck, he’s a foster kid – you don’t even need to know the details to expect he has), he is struggling. And while he is fighting all he is going through – the emotions and the past – he gets frustrated by it all – and angry. I saw this happening while we were out of town at a restaurant. I grabbed him and took him for a walk.
After he went on and on about things, I finally stopped him during his rant.
"Look, kid – you need to stop being so hard on yourself and expecting too much from yourself. Six months ago, you live was 100% different. Think about that – 100% of your life has changed. You have different parents. You live in a different house. You are getting help – and you are getting different support. You get to dress differently and wear your hair differently. You are getting to explore who you are in ways you have never been able to. And for the first time in your entire life, you feel safe. Stop and think about this for a moment. Pause and appreciate the changes – the good changes you have now. While those little voices in your head are casting doubt on how you are doing right now in this moment, you need to tell those little voices to shut the hell up because life has gotten better — and it will continue to do so."
Then I told him a story about how I had to learn to do that. How, in my lame example, I let the voice of doubt rob me of joy because all I saw was failure. It was only after everyone – I mean EVERYONE around me in that situation was celebrating and telling me how amazing I had done that I realized maybe it was time to turn that voice down a bit. While it helps sometimes to drive me to do better, it was also robbing me of my job.
He stopped walking while I was talking and looked at me – mouth agape. "Holy shit – my life is so far from what it was six months ago ……how did I miss that?!?"
"You have to stop yourself sometimes," I told him, "and look backwards for a moment to realize how far you have come. Sure you may have far to travel yet, and it may seem like you are going backwards too. But it is only when you pause for a moment and reflect on where things were at that you realize how far you have come. That will show you that you can do this – you are doing it – and things are not as bad as they once were."
So that is your motivation today. Take stock in where you were at – how far you have come in your own life – and take a moment to celebrate how far you have come. It will only fuel you forward.