Baby steps are still progress

It’s precious to watch a young child (or a newborn animal) just learning to walk. They pull themselves up and stagger along on unsteady legs as they build their strength and learn to balance themselves upright. It often involves more than a few tumbles and moments of abrupt sitting down before their gait becomes natural and steady. And they must learn to walk before they learn to fun.

This process is not unlike my own process when it comes to learning a new way to approach life or replacing an unhelpful pattern with a new one. I begin practicing that new pattern (or new outlook) is unsteady ways that involve lots tumbles and shaky moments. Eventually, though, the new pattern becomes my new normal, and I can navigate it without effort.

I had the opportunity to practice this tonight. It appeared for a time that something I had tried to put together was falling completely apart the night before the deadline. I panicked, and all of my old co-dependent patterns kicked in. I was ready to try to jump in and save the day with whatever heroics were necessary to fix the problem.

But I caught myself fairly quickly as I headed down this old, familiar route. I remembered that it wasn’t my job to fix this. The two people involved were both adults, and they could work this out between them without my help (and especially without my trying to control the situation).

So I shelved the heroics. I did the minimum that I felt necessary to make sure everyone involved knew what was going on in a timely fashion and made myself available to provide an introduction for one of the parties, if needed.

And, as it turns out, that was all that was needed. Everything appears to have worked itself out just fine.

But the moment when I caught myself heading down that old road, took a deep breath, and chose a different path was big deal. It was a huge weight off my shoulders to release the “responsibility” of fixing it all. It still felt horribly irresponsible not to, but I recognized that as the lie that it was and let it sit there without acting on it.

It felt wobbly and unsteady and scary to do this differently. I still sat down rather abruptly at the start of it when I momentarily forgot that I am using new patterns now. But I got back up, and I used my new legs and took one step after another until I got where I needed to be.

I may not be running yet, but baby steps are still progress. And each bit of practice makes the next round that much steadier. I’ll be running before I know it!

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

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