15 years ago. 10 years ago. 5 years ago. Last month. Yesterday.
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve felt it or how long ago it was — to this day, you still feel guilty. You feel like you’re never going to find a way to atone for all the setbacks you’ve experienced, the failures you’ve brought upon yourself, or even the littlest mistakes that still hurt you today.
You’ve tried everything. You’ve read the latest self-help articles, you’ve revamped your whole routine, you started waking up an hour earlier than you used to, and you’ve passionately pursued all the highly recommended activities like journaling, meditating, drinking more water, and taking regular walks outside. You’ve cut certain people out of your life because of their overbearing negativity and you’ve given up on unhealthy habits, so now life is starting to look like a checklist with check marks in every box.
But within, you feel like a checkbox that’s been left blank, an unfinished task.
You don’t understand how incomplete you feel. It’s been years since you’ve had an epiphany about starting your life over and the very next day, you threw out everything that didn’t serve you, including your most unpleasant memories and your worst fears for the future. This internal revolution was then followed by radical changes in your lifestyle – no more overspending, no more processed foods, no more procrastination, no more entertainment, no more hanging out with friends, no more staying up late, no more this, no more that.
You’ve done all this, yet your life doesn’t look dreamy enough to be admired by thousands of people on Instagram. You still haven’t finished that book you wanted to write five years ago. You’re still judging and envying others for having a better life than the one you’re living right now. You’re still swamped by all the bills and the pressure to take a job you suck at just to pay them all on time. You don’t look like a model. You don’t speak nice and pretty words all the time. You don’t get up early enough. You don’t sleep enough. You envision things, but they remain in your head instead of in front of your eyes as they should be by now. You try your best, but all you get is an average result. You stagnate, and then you leave hope by the wayside.
But change isn’t simply about following a neat little list of steps to take. It isn’t something that anyone can tell you to do because that’s in your power, not theirs. You’ll get better, just not overnight. You’ll walk a few steps in the dark until you’re miles away from the guilt that holds you back.
You’ll get there. Only when you’re ready. Only when the process of letting go is genuine and you feel that deep in your bones. Only when you aren’t forcing yourself to do it all at once.
Today you’re doing the best you can. You woke up. You’re walking, taking one step at a time. Your heart is beating with strength and vitality. You’re making someone’s day just by being in it and smiling in spite of all that you feel. Your passion speaks volumes about you, even when you don’t speak for yourself.
You’re not behind, you’re just where you need to be, on a path that no one else can pave for you. You’re not the greatest in the world, but you’re the greatest at being you. Your life may be imperfect and full of crushed dreams, but it’s not the catastrophe that you make it out to be.
Guilt may hold fast to you, but you’re still moving, despite how much it’s pulling you back.
Guilt may render you helpless, but you’re still helpful to those who need to know they’re never alone.
Guilt may tell you that you’re not doing enough, but you’re enough.
Guilt may tell you that your life is meaningless, but you make it meaningful in a way that can never be compared to anything else.
Guilt may hand you a checklist of things you “should” be doing, but you can rip it up and write a new one with things that matter the most.
Guilt may ruin how you feel, but it cannot, and will not, ruin the rest of your days.
Because you’re more than a box that needs to be checked off.
You’re more than your Instagram feed, you’re more than your titles, you’re more than your list of accomplishments, you’re more than what your past says about you, you’re more than all the opinions of others combined.
You’re a voyager, an adventurer, a seeker.
A survivor, a healer, a warrior.
An ever-changing soul with a mind that’s open to all possibilities, always in motion.
Guilt may have already paved a path for you, but you’ll pave an even better path for yourself.
You’re exactly who you are, standing exactly where you need to be.