Today, Let’s Start Over

Dawn Bevier

We don’t have to be the “we” we were the day before.

Image by Ernest Brillo

For the past few months, I’ve been working on some changes. For example, I've started making positive choices concerning my diet, such as eliminating sugar and carbs and eating more protein to lose the extra weight that's sabotaging my self esteem.

But a lot of times people's good intentions crumble when their world crashes down around them, and it's hard to regain the emotional footing that allows them to accomplish their goals.

I'm one of those people.

Recently, my world has been turned upside down because my husband has started a new job. He works fourteen hours a day, leaving me to run a busy household with two hormonal teenagers. Being that I also work full-time as a teacher, lately my life resembles the twister scene in Wizard of Oz, where all you see is uprooted houses and flying debris.

As a result, I’ve lost my footing. I'm starting to lose my resolve and the self-discipline that I worked so hard to achieve over the last six months. Like having chips with my sandwich instead of a salad. Like days where I sit at the computer to plan creative lessons for my students and the ideas won't come.

And I’m heartsick.

And I’m betting that there’s a lot of you out there who feel the same way. A failed diet. A relapse where you submit to an addiction. An act of infidelity.

And whatever you did, there is some good news. It’s over. You literally or metaphorically “drank the poison” and now suffer the unavoidable aftereffects of self-loathing, shame, anger and hopelessness.

But the deed is done, and unfortunately, it cannot be erased.

However, you have one wonderfully simple thing on your side: a sunrise. A new day. A new sheet of pristine white paper on which you can begin again to write your life story.

But before you begin to write, know this. You don’t have to be the “you” you were yesterday. You can use this beautifully blank parchment to create a new character for the novel that is your existence.

How do you do this? How do you make this page more perfect than the last?

Forgive yourself.

You’re human. And that means making mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are small ones that can be easily rectified with a few quick and easy changes. Sometimes the mistakes are monumental, ones that shatter your world into a thousand ugly pieces.

But to move forward, you have to forgive yourself.

That doesn’t mean creating excuses or trying to justify your own erroneous behavior.

It simply means letting bygones be bygones and realizing that beneath your bad deeds lies an imperfect person who really wants to change for the better. And that makes you worthy in spite of your flawed actions. Not only worthy but deserving of a new chance to make things right.

Think before you act.

Slow. Down. Breathe. Pause.

Envision the writer who first sits down at the computer to compose.

He doesn’t settle himself into the chair and immediately start pounding out words. There is a moment of adjustment, a repositioning of his body into the chair so that he feels comfortable, and then a thoughtful moment of inaction where he stares at the screen in contemplation, thinking of just the right word or idea to punch onto the perfectly bare document.

And throughout his creative process, he will continue to pause, reflect and edit, noticing misspelled words, missing commas, and awkward sentences, moving the cursor backward to fix the flaw before he hits publish.

This is how we should approach our lives.

We should pause before we act in ways that betray our goals and values. We should work on constantly monitoring our choices and thoughts, looking back frequently on our actions and editing them so that they are more perfect than the day before. Or even the moment before. Improvement can only come when we take the time to recognize the triggers that prompt us to give into our temptations and learn to overcome them. Progress only happens when we slow down and consider that to achieve our goals we may need to make revisions to our mindset, our words, or our behaviors.

Believe in yourself.

So, you messed up. It happens to us all. And, yes, be prepared, it will probably happen again. But believe that if you keep at it, your goals can be achieved.

Nations have fallen, kingdoms have been destroyed, and the greatest among us have suffered injuries, either as a result of their own actions or simply the hands of Fate. But many have risen from the ashes. And you can too.

Take the mythical phoenix.

Ancient Origins explains describes the phoenix as a “a magical bird, radiant and shimmering, which lives for several hundred years before it dies by bursting into flame.” They say “it is then reborn from the ashes to start a new long life.”

And though the phoenix may not exist in the physical world, you do. And you can channel its energy and embrace its spirit. You can rise from the destruction that was yesterday and be reborn.

The bottom line:

Life is a work in progress. And today is a new day. A blank page lies before you.Yesterday’ s page? It was just a bad first draft. A really bad, really rough “rough draft.”

But you can rewrite the next draft in a more perfect way, maybe even creating a beautiful piece of art. So ball up the regret, throw it in the trash, and begin to write your masterpiece.

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My goal is to provide you with thoughtful, informative, and inspirational content that may increase your productivity, relationships, and well-being.

Sanford, NC

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