The Ability to Improve

“For them it’s not about immediate perfection. It’s about learning something over time: confronting a challenge and making progress.”
-Carol Dweck. ‘Mindset.’

Moody. Annoyed with those around me. Short tempered in the morning. Self-centered. Purposely avoided talking to certain people. Left without saying goodbye. Cherry-picked who I had the energy to be nice to.  Expected people to move out of my way. Greed. Anger. Felt like the world ‘owed’ me. Had super focus on my exam studies, (which resulted in) being proud and boastful. Snapped, (at more than just one person.) Impatient. Self-seeking. Rude.

These are (unfortunate) realities of the past week in my life. I know that as a human being, forgiving myself for these flaws are the only way to move past them and improve. However here’s what I don’t do when hormonal imperfections seem to catch up with me.

I don’t chose to ignore them.

When inappropriate mood strikes, I am hyper-aware of my actions. I try to take an objective and observing  approach. This enables me to make changes and necessary improvements in the future.

I tread my emotional life as you would that of a child. I don’t yell, judge, make a scene or send the kid to their room. I sit down and reflect, and try to learn what could have been done differently. I try to draw conclusions on how I am going to approach situations, like this one, in the future.

Regardless of my wish to ALWAYS be humble, smiling, kind and perfect, I know it’s just not the reality of life. I am in a progress. The goal for me isn’t changing into some superhuman saint. The primary goal is the simple progression of learning. Love, kindness and social abilities are not something you wake up one day and just are. It isn’t a epiphany. It is skills you develop over time. Life throws you curb balls and you fall flat on your face? Then you get back up, and you might have a slightly different perspective than before. Everything you go through will serve as experience. Experience is practice, and practice will further your skills and development.

I’ve spend hours, upon hours, guilting myself because I didn’t live up to my personal expectations of love. Why didn’t / couldn’t I, just do it? This approach is the opposite of humility. Without practice the standard is ultimately unreachable.

How do you expect someone to become a varsity level player, before putting them through the basics training first? You don’t. To improve in sports, we practice. We fall down, we get up and we continue to practice. Then we practice some more, and even when we are great players, we keep showing up for practice.

These same principals count when we are in social surroundings. Personally, I find it very challenging to be in the midst of social situations. In sports there is predicted outcomes. To prepare for social situations are quite different. You can’t predict outcomes. I used to think that I was condemned to be a social moody misfit. I have come to believe that the reality is quite different. Social interaction and the love for my peers, are skills that can flourish over time, with practice and a fundamental nurture towards the small steps. Pause, reflect and chase improvement, that is the way of the growing mindset.

Freja Blay.
Aarhus, Denmark.
21st of May 2017.

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