Reflections and Humility – Why I share the ups and downs of my self improvement journey so candidly
This morning I received an unexpected but pleasant surprise. A reader who had just come across my work through an online magazine I write for contacted me out of the blue. Her message was humbling and gratifying as she told me how much my writing had spoken to her and how my personal journey had inspired her.
It reminded me of why I started this blog, over two years ago now. At the time, I just had a feeling that I had something to offer others and that I wanted to share what I had learned. I had a lot of stories in my personal backlog that needed to be written down and shared and that’s how I got started. Over time, the backlog has been used up and the blog has inspired me to keep moving forwards and to keep documenting what I’ve learned. Often I’m inspired by a conversation I have had, or like today by a reader (and if you’re reading this you know who you are so thank you).
Being contacted by readers in this way is also very humbling. I certainly admire a number of bloggers myself and I am sometimes guilty of putting them on a pedestal, thinking that they have it made or have all the answers. I can tell you that I’m pretty sure that they don’t. In my experience, the journey of self improvement is pretty messy, frequently demoralizing and sometimes downright embarrassing. Publishing that journey online can also be a bit confronting but I think that transparency is key.
Late last year, I had a conversation where someone told me that they admired the transparency of self that I put into my blog and that it was a brave thing to do. It stuck with me because I guess I do pretty much put most of it out there. Personally, I think that improvement advice is only really valid if the stories of success also come with the stories of failure. I’m not ashamed of my failures, the struggle is real, setbacks are a part of the journey and we learn more from our setbacks than we do from out successes.
Right now, twelve days into my 21 Day Exercise Plan, I am not feeling overly successful. Yes, I’ve exercised every day so far. No, it has not been glamorous in any way shape or form. I am still overweight. I am starting to realize the enormity of the goals I have set myself. Deep in the Valley of Disappointment there is no end in sight but I know that somewhere ahead, probably many frustrating months from now, is my goal for this year.
I often use images from Unsplash, a free photo site with lots of amazing photos. Of course, when you search for a photo to demonstrate the difficulty of climbing a hill you get a lot of photos of beautiful, fresh looking people standing on the top of mountains. I find these pretty ironic. Of course, this will look good as the featured image on my blog post (it’s all about content styling baby) but my reality is being collapsed on the ground, ten steps up the mountain, gasping for air and wondering how this is better than sitting on the couch.
I am happy to share my journey with you, in the hopes that while you are struggling with your own goals, whatever they may be, that I am down there, struggling along, right beside you.