Back when I worked in a home-visiting program for pregnant women and new mothers (I know, such a perfect job for an infertile, right?) I remember an analogy I would use with the moms, most of whom were teenagers. I don’t remember the context exactly, but it was something about having to repeat things with babies and young children a lot—words, or stories, something like that. The analogy I used (as most of them were so fresh out of school, or, if they were lucky, still in school) was math class. When you’re learning a new concept in math, the teacher doesn’t have you just do one or two practice problems. You have to do many, over and over. Often on multiple assignments, because that’s how we learn—through repetition.
Today I got caught up in some back-and-forth nonsense in my mind—the one where I try to convince myself to do something because it’s “good” for me, or because I’m “bad” for not doing it, and then the other side of my mind starts in with the disappointed sighing because I’m not 100% accepting of myself, or because I’m not doing x, y, or z 100% perfectly. At some point during all this mental noise, I remembered the lesson that I’ve been thinking about for a long time—self love. Somehow, I remembered that the important lesson for me is learning to love myself, learning to care for myself, learning to treat myself with kindness, and the other things will work themselves out. I took a sigh of relief and set the mental gymnastics aside for the moment.
I can look over the past two years (at least) and pick out multiple times that I’ve “learned” this lesson, and somehow, I get busy, or stressed, and I look up and it’s nowhere to be found.
And that’s ok. I misplace this lesson, but it keeps finding its way back to me. I stumble back upon it over, and over, and over, and over.
And that’s how I learn. By doing those math problems over and over and over again.
And sometimes I do the addition incorrectly. And sometimes I forget the formula altogether. But, so far, there’s always been another chance to learn it around the corner.
And this is a lesson that I think I’ll be practicing for a long time to come.