I made soup for dinner tonight. And by made, I mean I popped open the can of Progreso & poured it into a bowl, covered it up & put it in the microwave. Then I toasted some bread to make half of a sandwich. & I thought, “I gave up gluten last week, but it didn’t seem to be the cause of anything, so here I am eating bread again.” and WHAM! It hit me. Like a ton of bricks: why do people shame others when they relapse? When they go back to something they tried to give up, or quit. When they can’t keep up with their diets, or their resolutions. Why?
People talk about this all of the time, they just phrase it differently. You’ve heard ’em. “One step forward, two steps back,” they snicker under their breath. I have said this before myself. I think as recently as earlier this week. But, tonight, I don’t like it. I don’t like the phrase, and I don’t like the idea. Frankly, it feels weird coming out of my mouth. Rude. Disheartening. Selfish.
Why is it OK for people to make decisions when they involve a new endeavor? When they’re fresh, and exciting, and unknown. When they’re full of hope & integrity & endless possibilities. Yet, when someone decides to revisit something – they’re shamed. Or at least questioned. We’re called out. “I thought you didn’t like him?” “I thought soda was just empty calories?” “I thought she was too clingy?” Stop it. Stop making people feel bad about the decisions they’re making. *Note: I’m not completely crazy. If someone keeps running back to something harmful for them like an abusive partner or a drug addiction, by all means, help!
Life is really, really wonderful. But it’s also very hard. I can’t make a damn decision to save my life. Even now, at 7:11PM sitting at the bar in my house in a pair of sweats with the TV on – I am still debating going to the gym or doing a circuit at home. You’d think putting my quitters on and eating dinner would be the end, but it isn’t. I still think to myself “Maybe I should just go tonight, instead of tomorrow…” I’m also pondering ice-cream instead. But that’s a story for another time. I suck just as bad, if not worse, at making the big decisions: jobs, boys, friendships. From one minute to the next, I change what I want. I want to be single, I want to be married. I want kids, I don’t. I love ice cream, diary makes me uncomfortable. I miss coffee, I hate being jittery.
Maybe I’m the only person on the planet who feels this way, but I highly doubt it. I doubt that other people haven’t thought about giving something or someone a second chance. That they haven’t grown, and changed, and decided maybe that thing I didn’t let in deserves another shot through the door. Maybe the timing is better now. Maybe the weather is better. Or maybe you just feel different. And whichever of these events may have caused your change of heart doesn’t matter. Not to me, anyway. If you’ve changed your mind about something you once were dead-set on, I think that’s OK. I think it’s brave. And inspiring. And that’s probably only because I’m there myself. (haha).
The fact of the matter is being a human is hard work. Making a life for yourself is tiring. It’s scary, and treacherous, and full of uncertainties. I think, more often than not, we make the wrong decision. We divulge too much, too soon. We don’t say enough. We make up our own versions of people, or let other’s define them, before we give them a chance to show us who they are themselves. We think the grass is greener on the other side, so we hop the fence, only to realize we’re standing in the same damn place.
Don’t shame people for giving things a second try. Or a third. Or a fourth. Let people come to their own realizations about things, healthy things, and be there for them each and every time they make the wrong choice & fall apart. All we really need at the end of the day are people who let us be ourselves. That’s all I really need, anyway.
I think taking 2 steps back can be just as important as taking one step forward, if you think a little room to breathe is what you need.