You’re okay.


 

I’ve googled “discipline fatigue” twice in the last 24 hours.

It’s not a thing. I keep checking, hoping I can make it a thing, but it’s an unknown, illegitimate ailment I’ve made up.

I whine to Lane and tell him this is what I have right now: discipline fatigue. It is hitting me like a tidal wave as he pushes me to go to the gym and I tell him I don’t want to. I have no desire. Maybe you can push me to do a workout but I won’t want to go back to it tomorrow. I’m wearing workout clothes right now but I am sitting here writing instead.

I’ve had discipline fatigue in this area of working out for the last three weeks now. I keep wondering if it is like a cold. If I can kick the symptoms with some apple cider vinegar and just keep marching on.

 

I’m a pretty disciplined person. I’ve fallen in love with discipline in the last two years because I’ve found that so much freedom comes from routines and rhythms. It’s so nice to not feel chaotic, or feel like I am constantly chasing after this person I want to become with no real map. Instead, I am inching my way towards her and I am learning how to love and take care of the person who occupies the “in the meantime.”

But I still can so easily fall into this trap of a lie that life will begin, life will mean something, when I check x,y, and z off the list. I know I’m not alone in feeling this. I make goals for the month but there are just some times where the goals– all sitting together in one place– make me feel like I am always climbing towards something and never fully in the present moment of progress.

I want to learn how to occupy my progress. I want to enjoy the imperfection of today.

 

And so, a small reminder for myself: it’s okay to feel burnt out. It’s okay to be tired, weak, weary or all of the above. It’s okay to not know which small step to take. It’s okay if it takes you a little while to take any step at all. 

Every single day is a chance to be better. That’s not a marching order, that’s a gift. All of this-this life unfolding- is slow progress. I like to think we are progressing towards being kinder and happier people. I like to imagine we will get to end of our lives and say we progressed towards joy, more love, and less fear. We must dance in the progress if we ever want to see it as a gift.

There’s a part of me that wants to scream, “Get in the gym! Keep going! Run!” We all go into Nike “just do it” mode when we’re in a mood we need to snap out of. And then there’s this quieter voice that is speaking up and saying, “Hey… chill out. Give yourself a break. You’re doing a lot. You’re carrying a lot.”

You don’t always have to be on your A game. You don’t have to be the one who wedges smoothies, kale, yoga, meditation and skinny jeans into your daily routine. You are not a superhero. There are days for sweatpants pretending to be real pants. There are days for cheese.

Perfection is a conspiracy theory we’re all believing in. Perfection is a paper town. We still chase after it because it looks like other people, people with more followers and more kale on their plates, have somehow attained it. Let the myth die: not a single one of us knows what perfection feels like. 

What perfection wants to steal is our ability to just be here now. We become seekers, lookers, finders, searchers. We become nomads hunting after divine purpose, and a skinnier waist, and a bigger bank account. It all adds up to a bigger problem: We miss one another when we chase after “missing pieces.”

You aren’t missing a thing. It’s all right here, so reach out and grab it. Is there room for growth? Always. Is there time in a single day to be everything to everyone? Never. Stop chasing it.

Don’t trade “being here” for the lie that “getting there” is worth chasing down the rabbit hole.

 

I remember sitting at a dinner table with some of my friends a few years back and I told them how I thought the two most beautiful words in the world, the most universal ones we all needed to hear, were simple: you’re okay.

We sat there for nearly a half hour talking about those two words, marveling at the way they put us all at ease.

You’re Okay. I say those words constantly to my friends in a trial. I repeat them to myself. I hush the babies with that belief, “You’re okay. You’re okay. You’re okay.”

I think all of us need this reminder every once in a while. We don’t always need a pep talk. We don’t need to lie and say we are on top of the mountain when we know we’re really not. The words are blunt and simple, “you’re okay.” Don’t cue the fireworks or call on the heavens to rumble. Some days we are just okay and that’s what the world gets of us. And you know what? That’s okay too.

And it’s true. It’s true whether you ran five miles today or you didn’t get up out of bed: you’re okay.

Whether you have slain the dragons you’re most afraid of or if you ran out of fear: you’re okay.

If you are tired and you don’t have a map: you’re okay.

If you are on the edge of transition and you feel like nothing in your life is the same anymore: you’re okay.

You got up today. You made it this far. You’re still here.

You’re okay. 

 

(photo cred)

25 thoughts on “You’re okay.

  1. Thank you for this gift. I, too, suffer almost daily from discipline fatigue. I am 61 and am now looking down the stretch at the end of my life and I am still undisciplined and have too much stuff and don’t often have the will or the energy to deal with it. I will keep re-reading your post.

  2. Thank you for this gift. I, too, suffer almost daily from discipline fatigue. I am 61 and am now looking down the stretch at the end of my life and I am still undisciplined and have too much stuff and don’t often have the will or the energy to deal with it. I will keep re-reading your post.

  3. Hi Hannah — thank you for this post. My childhood dog has been sick for some time now and today we made the decision to put him down. Needless to say, I’ve been feeling so many emotions. Thank you for reminding me that I am okay tonight.

  4. Thank you for this blog…. you have taken the words right out of my head. Now that I practice the art of being perfectly imperfect ( a former perfectionist), I find myself to be a lot happier and much more present. I am glad to know I am not the only person out there who can be allowed to be “okay.”

  5. It’s hard to live in the moment, isn’t it? Sometimes, when I paint, I lose myself in it and I’m shocked 2 hours have passed. I guess that is living in the moment. I think when I am traveling, looking out the window of the car at new scenes, beautiful countryside and exciting cities, I am living in the moment. I love traveling.

    Discipline fatigue. Does it happen because our life isn’t fulfilling enough? When life seems dull and boring, we don’t want to do anything much. I was so bored and lonely 3 years ago. I asked God to help me by giving me ideas of things to do that would make me happier. He did give me ideas and I am happier and seldom bored.

  6. As a college senior desperately waiting for my life to begin, I needed to hear this. Thank you.
    Perfectionism bites, but the best medicine for it is to try anyway. Just try. Even when it hurts. Even when we fail. Miserably. My life isn’t about to start; it’s already happening. Thank you for reminding me of the simple truth that we’re all still okay.

  7. I’m surprised you couldn’t find anything about it. I’ve read that the brain, like our muscles, only has so much energy. If you use your will power in one area, it will suffer in another. I know I value my routines because I don’t like wasting mental energy thinking about what to have for breakfast or when I’m going to do this or that.

  8. This is beautiful. It put words to what I have been feeling lately. Some days we are just okay… and that’s okay. 🙂 I am also intrigued by the idea of perfection as a “paper town”… so very true. Thank you for sharing your insight with us!

  9. Isn’t it funny how sometimes “you’re OK” is more encouraging than anything else. It’s OK to just be OK. You’re allowed to just exist and that’s enough.

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