How to Embrace Slow Progress in Pursuing Your Biggest Dreams + My Wedding Day Recap!
All images are by the amazing Shelley Hartman!
As my bare feet planted themselves in the ground beneath me, I clung to my dad’s arm. I tried to soak it all in - the birds chirping loudly, the wind blowing just enough to pull on my veil, my heart beating intensely in my chest, the way my mom looked at me before she took her seat and how handsome he looked standing under the arch full of beautiful florals and wild greenery. I tried not to look around, but it was hard not to observe every beautiful soul that sat around us - their eyes about to behold our union. My eyes were fixated on his, and they didn’t break their gaze. My lips uttered sacred words releasing purposeful vibrations into the earth declaring our commitment to one another. My finger was clothed in a promise, and our lips sealed every word that exited our bodies.
It was a defining moment.
When I was a little girl, I dreamt of this day. I envisioned what it would be like, who I would be with and what exactly I would feel. My parents prayed that I would find the right person. I made a list of values (the most important one being that he would resemble my father in many ways). I failed in relationships. I waited and anticipated. There was so much leading up to this one moment, and in the blink of an eye, it was gone. Yet, this one moment that passed quicker than any other was one of the biggest defining moments of my life so far. It was a moment that would change the course of my life forever. Man, that’s a scary word. Forever. This moment was one of the most beautiful, wonderful, joyful, amazing and rewarding moments I’ve ever experienced. Defining moments almost always are.
Our fingers intertwined with promises clothing our ring fingers, and we took our first step as Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The rest of the night was filled with laughter, joy and so much love. We took hundreds of pictures, ate delicious food, danced our hearts out, smashed cake in each other’s faces (okay, I smashed cake in Josh’s face. He was kind enough to not return the favor), cried as people gave speeches, drank amazing wine, laughed with our friends, and felt nothing at all but love all around us. It filled every crevice of the venue, every heart present and every breath we inhaled. Love was our anthem that night. It screamed louder than we’ve ever heard.
Defining moments are just that - moments.
We dream of them, constantly envision them, wish they would arrive sooner and mourn when they pass. When people see our wedding photos, they see the surface. They see the beauty held in that very moment - the smiles, the joy, the fulfillment, and perhaps they see perfection. But what they don’t see is every single moment that paved the way for that - the heartbreak, the sacrifice, the nerves, the risk, and the failure. Life is full of moments, and they are always preparing us for the next. Some ask us the question: “Are you brave enough to take the risk?” Some say “Are you willing to rest in the unknown for a while longer?” Life is full of mountain tops and valleys, but the mountain tops never cover as much land as the valleys do. This means that most of our life is lived in the valley floor where we are harvesting, planting, growing, failing and becoming.
Be patient as you become the person you’re supposed to be.
Don’t waste all of your energy wishing for a future moment - the defining moment when you marry the person of your dreams, finally leave your full-time job, have your first child, go on your dream vacation or close on your dream home. Yes, set those goals and believe with all of your being that you will achieve them, but don’t forget to soak up every ounce of beauty the present moment holds - the way it’s preparing you to carry the weight of that dream. The truth is that if I didn’t face a failed relationship that left my heart completely broken, I’m not sure if I would have cultivated as deep of a love as I have with Josh (and perhaps, I never would have met him).
Take the small steps, grow with every breath, be patient with your flourishing and persistent in your becoming. Here are three ways to embrace slow progress in pursuing your biggest dreams:
1| Don’t ever compare your journey to someone else’s
The truth is that you have no idea what someone’s life has entailed entirely. It’s easy to see people through their curated feeds and make assumptions. “They have the perfect life. They make everything look so easy. Man, they are so lucky!” But everyone has their own struggle. Everyone who has the “perfect job” still has to sift through the mundane day-to-day tasks. Everyone who is married has to make constant sacrifices for their partner. And everyone who has the “perfect body” still has insecurities. Know that your journey is your own, and your moment will come when the time is right.
2| Acknowledge the small steps you are taking - progress is progress!
Again, it’s so easy to jump on the comparison train. Next to our biggest hero, our progress might look really small. But what if we chose to shift our perspective? What if instead of comparing our progress to other people, we began comparing our current progress with our past progress from last month or last year? Any progress is amazing. Acknowledge every single small step that has brought you to where you are now.
The most important thing is that you just keep going. Don’t lose hope, don’t become doubtful, and don’t get discouraged. Failure is teaching you lessons in order to propel you towards success. Learn from your failed relationship, continue improving your business strategies, and keep looking for ways to finally land that dream home. You are a living, breathing, beautiful work of art. You are capable of anything you set your mind to, so long as you just keep going for it.
Are you ready to exit your comfort zone and start pursuing your biggest passion? Are you ready to ditch the self-doubt, fear, and insecurity in order to claim your truth? Download the ‘Dare to Take Risk’ workbook for FREE & start taking action towards your biggest dream today!
How do you stay patient as you pursue your dreams? Share with us below!
Ashton is the founder of The Authentic Woman, a platform that empowers women to live authentically as themselves. She firmly believes that women have the power to shift culture, eradicate unjust standards and ultimately change the world. When she's not working with her husband, she is most likely sipping on a cup of local coffee, swooning over pottery or adding to her succulent collection.
Connect with Ashton over on her Instagram!