Practice.

Ever hear the phrase “Practice makes perfect”? Annoying right? It’s something that is really hard to hear. At least, I think it’s annoying. It reminds me of something my mom would have said when I was in middle school. I played the clarinet in band, for two years, big deal. The less I practiced, the more my mom said things like “Practice makes perfect”. Now because of that, the phrase seems like nagging. Nagging sucks, it only makes me want to practice less.

Though I have to say that practicing is the only way to get better and make progress, so unfortunately… my mom was right, love you mom.

I have always struggled with my writing. I struggle with focusing and I give partial blame to that, but a significant amount of blame has gone to my confidence. I never thought that my writing could measure up to other people and their masterpieces. I would use procrastination as an excuse not to write, turn my stuff in late and or not do it. I loved learning, just hated writing. Look at me now!

In graduate school I took a writing tutor class as an elective, for three quarters. I did this to supplement my writing and to help me write my final synthesis paper. The teacher for this class had combined psychology with writing, and had a deep understanding for people’s fear of writing. She offered something that would change my life in more ways than she could even imagine. She gave lectures every class period about different tips and tricks of writing. The one that changed my life taught me about practice.

She said that when we grow, we create neural pathways in our brain which are what we do every day when we do things over and over. They are learned behaviors. When we practice new ways of living, we create new neural pathways in our brain. The more we practice along these new neural pathways, the more likely we will continue to follow them. The old ones will always be there, but we will be less likely to follow down those pathways.  (You can google neural pathways right now and it will give you 10 ways to train your brain.)

I have been struggling with food for about 20 years or so. The earliest memories I have with my relationship with food goes back to about 9 years old. I remember being bored, so bored that I would eat to fill time, to fill comfort. Comfort from what? Comfort from loneliness probably. It was stimulation, stimulation that I needed to feel. I remember that I would often go for salty salty foods, or ones that were sweet (when we had sweet things in our house). I remember chicken noodle soup, tuna fish, and baking. I developed a lot of comfort in my relationship with food.

It takes a lot of practice to undo years and years of what the opposite is of what you are trying to accomplish. I have practiced a lot of new ways of living in order to get where I am today. Some good, some not so good, some that have made my brain crazy, some that have helped and some that haven’t helped. What we know from learning new things has been that I’ve made progress. How so? Because I’ve made an effort, I’ve put work in. I have committed to trying out new things and practicing them over and over again.

The point is, when it gets the hardest and you are at your most vulnerable, you put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward because you are worth it. You are deserving of healing. You are deserving of being healthy, and or following your dreams, no matter what those dreams are. All it takes is a little practice and eventually you will no longer be practicing.

 

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