It’s never too late to fill the bloody glass!

Has anyone ever told you that “it’s never too late”?

Or maybe you’ve said that to someone else?

Perhaps you’ve said the exact opposite: “it’s too late now”. Or (my all-time favourite) “it’s time you give up”.

Before I continue, I got a confession to make: I “was” that never-give-up person - until I wasn’t. I was the ever-fighting person that saw problems through the lens of their solutions. I would - of course - see the problem, but my default if you like was to focus on the possible solutions for it rather than ruminate about the problem. I'm inherently optimistic, and not just in the context of half-full vs half-empty glass. In fact I saw the following somewhere recently and it really spoke to me:

“I don’t care about whether the glass is half-full or half-empty. I care about how to fill it”.

I LOVED THAT. Fill the bloody glass. Just fill it (reminiscent of Nike’s Just Do It).

I’m not sure when I stopped being that optimistic. It wasn’t a particular point in time, or a single event that caused that shift. Rather, as it’s usually the case, it happened over time and after a series of soul-drenching heart-drying stuff that made me do two things (maybe you will recognise yourself in them too):

1) Made me tired. Like, extremely tired.

2) Made me question whether it was in fact smart or healthy to continue persisting in my usual crusade-type of way of fighting for something that I had no control over and it wasn’t mine to “fix”.

Sounds familiar?

I could see the shift of my mindset from the “focus on the solution” attitude towards the “I can only see the problem & it’s killing me” attitude. That shift in my thinking, energy and outlook was an extremely hard pill to swallow. In fact I don’t think I ever swallowed it.

But the mind is a wonderful instrument.

So, gradually, after becoming more deeply aware of what was happening, how it made me feel, what it meant to me, and accepting where I was in my journey without trying to push it away or judge it, I started settling my energy and began to see myself through the lens of compassion. Self-compassion is in the foreground of many waves of psychotherapy and has countless therapeutic benefits for all of us. If we are able to be compassionate towards ourselves, we can show compassion to others. We can be softer, kinder, calmer, more patient, genuinely there to offer a helping hand. We can be more human.

THAT shift started bringing me back to myself. By allowing myself to learn and reflect on the lessons… I inevitably started inviting myself back. My previous levels of energy began to re-emerge. From feeling constantly drained, pessimistic, tired, I started having hours or even days where I had so much energy that I didn’t know what to do with it. I was feeling like myself again!

This doesn’t mean that I don’t have days where I get pessimistic or overwhelmed.

It means that:

1) I know the feeling of overwhelm is not permanent

2) I know I'll be ok during and after the difficulty

3) I have fuller reserves of “Pam”, optimism and hope

4) I trust myself that whatever happens I can handle it

5) The uncertain future doesn’t scare me because – regardless – I got this. I got me.

6) The various choices I can take are just different options of equivalent value (not a life-or-death situation).

7) I can turn for support to my absolute rockstars I call friends.

{*Quick tip: Read the list above again, but this time, read it with YOUR name there. How empowering does that feel?}

All of the above have restored one vital thing for me: HOPE.

Hope that even though things may get difficult, really difficult at times, eventually it will all work out. You don’t have to have the whole journey mapped out, you just need to trust yourself to take the first step. Towards any direction. Just Do It (Nike I love you!). And even if you don’t do it - guess what - it’s ok! Because you may be giving yourself the gift of time until you process things. Please though, be a litlle careful you don’t trick yourself to never take a step because you are supposedly giving yourself time. Because what you’ll be doing in that scenario is robbing yourself of time. Robbing yourself of the endless opportunities that lie ahead of you (aka self-sabotage in all its glory).

So, now that Pam is back in the building she can tell you, with a massive smile on her face:

It’s never too late! It really isn’t.

Your brain, which was the original inspiration for this piece, is capable of anything. Literally anything. We have barely scratched the surface of what our minds can do. For anything to happen though, you have to believe it. You have to want to make it happen.

That’s true regardless whether you actually make it; because unless you try, you won’t know whether it’s possible to begin with.

For now, I want to leave you with this:

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What are you going to do with it?

(hint: fill the bloody glass!)

P.S. Originally written on 24/10/2021. I'm bringing it to you just as January 2022 ends to remind you (& me & all of us) that if you’ve left something behind thinking it may be “too late” for it now…. it isn’t!

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