I sent a text I shouldn’t have sent recently.

As a matter of fact, as I picked up my phone to text back, “Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that”, they replied to my initial text. Eep.

This is when I would normally freak out, text four different people with the awkwardness, bemoan how I shouldn’t have said what I said. Foot in mouth, foot in mouth, FOOT IN MOUTH.

Except, I didn’t. My pride was a little hurt, but nothing major happened. I apologized. I put my phone away. Life went on.

When I normally would have been mortified, hated myself for a week, dwelled on it for twice as long – I was strangely proud of myself. Because I had taken thoughts and put then to action. I made a gut decision. For me, that’s a win. For me, that will always be a win.

I’m a 5 on the Enneagram, and I’m still learning what that means in the day to day. Partly it means I live in my head far too often, and I forgot my thoughts don’t actually make it into the real world. It means I over think and over analyze and then think some more before uttering a sentence. It means acting – especially “spur of the moment” acting – is very, very rare for me.

And so, I’m working on it. At least, I’m trying to.

I’ve had some phone calls that haven’t gone well. They didn’t go bad; they just didn’t go well. But I made them. I called people and I took deep breaths and I said things – out loud – that I felt needed to be said. Did I say them eloquently or perfectly or with the exact wording I had pre-memorized? Not even close. But I said them. And that’s enough for me.

I’m learning that personal growth isn’t so much about taking perfect steps forward, but taking small, messy baby steps. Sometimes forward, sometimes sideways – but at least it’s a step. It isn’t about seeing what you need to grow in and mastering that next step before you take it – it’s about trying and failing and trying again and doing a little better and trying some more until the step feels normal. Not until you’re perfect at it – but until it feels normal enough to become your new normal.

After all, my normal is far from perfect. But I’m working on making my normal as healthy as possible.

Personal growth is the hardest battle some days. It can be so tempting to cheat. Constantly. It can seem easy to not embrace the hard when the easy seems good enough. We live in a world of good enough, don’t we? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it’s not horrible, don’t complain. But what if it isn’t broken, but it isn’t working the best? What if it’s functioning, but not thriving? By cheating on the hard work, we’re cheating ourselves.

I’m trying to be okay with awkward steps forward – because I’m recognizing them as steps forward. I’m trying to be okay with things that would once embarrass me, because maybe that means I’m finally taking myself a smidgen less serious than I used to.

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I’m also ignoring texts people send me. Not for a day or two, but, like, for good. I used to be so caught up in being perfectly on top of things, in responding to everyone promptly, in being available to everyone at all times. Now I’m working on being myself.

Is that rude?? To not respond? …or is it boundaries?

We’re so constantly connected to everyone. Social media. Texting. The Find Your Friends app. I’m learning that, sometimes, it’s okay not to be. Sometimes it’s okay to not read that message, to not respond to that text, to not call that person back. Sometime you gotta worry about you, because no one else is going to. As an introvert, no one is standing over my social calendar, saying whooooa a little too many commitments this week. No one is monitoring my iMessage and scolding are you sure you want to be in the middle of this many conversations? No one is telling me hey maybe you should stop hanging out with so many people and go to bed earlier (Okay, actually, my mom tells me that a lot).

I’m starting to value my health and my sanity and my peace of mind over me being the “perfect friend”. I’m starting to realize I don’t like being the person with 50 new acquaintances and 40 coffee dates a month and 20 unread texts at the end of every day. I don’t like who I am when that’s my life. I don’t recognize who I am when that’s my life. I, sadly, physically can’t cope with that kind of life right now.

I’m also learning my closest, dearest friends don’t need me to constantly text them back, they don’t need me to be always active in the group text. They need me to be my most healthy self.

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As a 5, I care how people perceive me. I care about looking like I’m in control, like I know what I’m doing, like I am fully competent in any and all situations. But here’s the thing: I am not competent in any and all situations. I don’t think anyone is. So, I’m basically committed to living a lie. That bothers me.

I can care how people perceive me, but I can also care about being honest. So I’m embracing conversations I would normally shy away from, and I’m stumbling through them. I’m staying present in moments I would normally check out during, and I’m fighting every part of my being to not hang out in my head but to hang out with the people around me. I’m working on sensing my limits and honoring them – honoring myself and my various capacities more than honoring other people’s desire for me in their life. I’m working on that feeling healthy, instead of that feeling incredibly arrogant.

I’m choosing to be open about the fact that – sometimes – I have no idea what I’m doing. Actually, a lot of the time I don’t. And I’m choosing to invite people into that, instead of assuming they’ll run away with that truth.

I’m texting people when I shouldn’t. I’m not texting other people back. And I’m not hating myself for either one.

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