This week I went to physical therapy exasperated. It’s been 7 months since my surgery and my knee still hurts. I’m nowhere near where I expected to be by this time (hello critic). I expressed this to my Physical Therapist and, knowing how hard I can be on myself, he patiently directed me to move through my exercises right then, just to “see how it goes.”
After I began the first exercise, my PT was surprised. I was a bit confused myself, but then he pointed out my progress. Two weeks before I could do these same exercises, but now I could do them with almost twice the intensity. “That’s what I want you to focus on. Not what you can’t do, but the progress that you’ve made.”
This was such a good reminder that sometimes we don’t see change along the way. Actually, OFTEN times we don’t see our own progress. We focus on the end goal and if we haven’t reached it yet, then we think that what we’re doing must not be working. We might as well quit now.
DO NOT QUIT.
This photo is of me right after my second surgery this year. Though this was the smaller of my two surgeries, just seeing myself in the hospital, I can remember the excruciating pain and being unable to care for myself for months. I couldn’t walk, drive, prepare food, or do much of anything without assistance. When I look at how far I’ve come since then, it's absolutely incredible. #perspectiveshift
Some progress is easier to recognize than others. When it comes to self-care, it can be more difficult to see the results. You may wonder why the heck you are taking time out of your busy schedule to meditate or take a bubble bath or go to therapy. “I could actually be doing something productive.”
But similar to my knee, self-care is a muscle and that muscle gets stronger the more we use it. It may seem like a waste of time in the moment and like we’re not doing anything at all. But we just keep coming back and caring for ourselves over and over and eventually, the results will be apparent.
In the future, I’ll be able to hike again like a pro because of the self-care I am doing now. And one day you’ll throw down a boundary or prioritize your needs and wonder, “Wow. Where the heck did that come from??” But for now, let’s focus on the seemingly insignificant improvements we’ve made. Because (as my PT says) the small changes ARE the big changes.
So what have you done??
Reflect on some self-care progress you’ve made recently and share it with us in the comments below. Let's celebrate how far we've come, even if it seems like just a little. And... (spoiler): This might just lead to more progress...
"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection." -The Buddha