Heart Checks

A few years ago, I stopped making New Year resolutions. I felt too much pressure around the idea of making changes in my life that may cause me to feel like a failure. It was easy to convince myself that the I would probably give up early in the year anyway (okay, I really mean January). Making resolutions somehow seemed like a set-up for failure and I didn’t think I could handle that kind of back slide on my internal resume. Sound familiar?

I am a self-diagnosed, recovering type-A personality. What that means is this; once upon a time I was a perfectionistic, people pleasing, control freak! The fear of failure is so much a part of my DNA, that I still have my bad days when the control rears its ugly head. But, for the most part I have learned to embrace the “it really doesn’t matter” attitude about things, people pleasing and trying to control the circumstances in my life. Instead, I try to look at each day as a new beginning and have put into practice something I call “heart checks”.

And, because I am still learning how to be something other than a type-A personality, sometimes I need to start over mid-way through my day.

Today, my plan was to attend a team meeting for one of my children and then camp out at my favorite coffee shop to get some work done. But, I left that meeting feeling frustrated and discouraged by a broken system that continues to fail a child I am so desperately trying to help. I was struggling with my thoughts and my inability to figure out how to help her when I noticed that I was headed in the opposite direction of the coffee shop. I ended up pulling into my driveway instead, feeling more defeated than when I left the meeting. Once again feeling as through I had failed. I was so caught up in my own discouragement that my day was taken off course, both physically and figuratively. As I unbuckled the seat belt, I realized I had two choices: go in the house and face laundry and dishes, or put the car in reverse and find the nearest coffee shop. I chose the latter which allowed me some time to clear my head and check my heart.

What do our hearts have to do with starting over? Well, if you are anything like me and you let your internal dialogue steer the course of your day, then heart checks might help you. We tend to sabotage our optimism and our hearts with a jaded view of reality and then we beat ourselves up for outcomes that we had no control over. Mostly, we have a difficult time forgiving ourselves for outcomes that were out of our control.

After some clarity and the Toby Mac lyrics “If we gotta start somewhere I say here, if we gotta start sometime I say now” playing in the background of my mind, I realized that I needed a rewind on the morning. The place I needed to start, my heart. Letting go of my feelings of failure that were centered on the following: the meeting not going as planned (perfectionism), pleasing the team, not myself (people pleasing) and losing control of my day (control freak). I needed to start somewhere, so I started with forgiveness!

Once I offered myself some forgiveness on the backslide, I felt free to start my day over and celebrate the fact that I had found my way to a coffee shop and walked away feeling better (and caffeinated)!

If you’ve had a rough morning, I challenge you to take a moment and check your heart. Offer yourself forgiveness for whatever is standing in the way and then start over.