July 20, 2016, 7:39 p.m.
So, what’s in a plan, anyway?
In short – the answer is NOTHING. But, it took me a while to realize and fully understand this.
I thought that my plans defined me, and when I deviated from them it automatically meant failure; as a person, in my beliefs, and every part of my being. My plans were what made me proud, made me feel like I was successful, and made me feel complete.
The reality is: my plans limited me, kept me from fully understanding who I am, and prevented me from accepting me for me. All they ever were, were plans. That’s it. Nothing more.
Let’s make one thing clear before I continue - I am not talking about goals. Goals allow us to stay focused and can effect positive change. Goals should always be S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, realistic, and timely). I am talking about plans; the very things in life that can restrict personal freedom, and can shed a dark shadow on goals, possibly preventing any personal growth from occurring.
These plans may also take on one aspect of your being (for example, education and career), causing you to forget about every other part of your life. My plans shrouded my entire being, permitting me to neglect my mind, body, and soul. My plans were in fact education and career-related, and the constant energy output in this realm of my life allowed for my balance to slip away, and for a falsified sense of self to permeate. I put so much pressure on myself that I started going in a downward spiral when my plans did not come to fruition. I was losing myself – I was losing who I was – and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get the real “me” back.
This sense of uncertainty was fueled by the rigidity of my plans. After feeling more and more pressure as each day passed, I finally surrendered. And this time, it was not about incapability to meet those plans, it was a matter of embracing change and remembering who I was.
Even when we feel at peace, balanced, and in control, change is going to occur. So, now what happens when plans change? I’m a firm believer of the saying “things happen for a reason”. This meant that change was happening because it had to.
Change! Such a beautiful and inevitable part of life. Seasons change, environments change, so of course we change, too, as human beings and as individuals!
My “aha moment”: Change is not the enemy, here!
The problem was my attachment to my plans and the fact that I was terrified of them changing. Reality check: this is not balance! Rather, this caused a sense of imbalance, further consenting to a self-loathing mentality, and a false sense of hope. When we fear a change of plans it can also create a sense of losing control. This feeling alone can be detrimental to any type of recovery. Having previously been affected by disordered eating, this feeling of loss still impacted me greatly.
We ought to stop being so hard on ourselves, stop being so rigid with our planning (or anything in life, for that matter), and allow for change to be natural and fluid. What helped me get to this point of acceptance was journaling – I encourage you to find an outlet that helps you to grow. Truly embracing change can create clarity and a new outlook. It can open you up to permitting yourself to truly understand who you are – mind, body, and soul – and to do it with love.
My goals became priorities, which included my entire being, and automatically I noticed a positive shift in my overall health; physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physiologically. Putting myself first is number one, not my plans or unrealistic ideals. My entire sense of self became revitalized and in all honesty, the new path that I am currently on career-wise is way better than anything I could have ever planned or imagined for myself. This genuine acceptance towards change with a humble and honest approach allowed me to get to know myself, appreciate me for who I am, and ultimately love every bit of me; including the parts that change. Anything else that has happened, like my new career path, is just extra icing on the cake.
Lindsy is a NEDIC Blog Coordinator, a former NEDIC Direct Client Support Worker, and recently received a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Ryerson University. Lindsy has a background in Fitness and Lifestyle Management and is a certified Yoga instructor and Personal Trainer. These foundational avenues have helped her advocate for achieving balanced and healthy lifestyles, while adopting the Health at Every Size (HAES) approach.