Updated: Apr 29, 2021
When I was young and things wouldn't go the way I wanted them to, my father used to say exactly this: "Rome was not built in one day."
Apart from not understanding what that meant, it annoyed me at the same time, as I neither knew Rome, nor was I interested in any building processes. I wanted it now and complete and ready and I wanted my father to find the solution for my problem and not being full of wise words.
Having said that, I was quite surprised when this metaphor came up in a moment of my life, when I felt overwhelmed by personal problems but at the same time facing personal development and professional ambitions.
It came up out of the blue and suddenly I understood, it is about patience with yourself but even more. It is about trusting yourself in the process and about feeling empathy towards yourself in the process.
Its about my own Rome in my head, its about building it up step by step with patience and its about feeling compassionate for the failings on the way.
Everyone has their own Rome- as little or big it may be in your head- you know that one day you want to get there, be there, live there. But it’s the way to Rome which makes us struggle.
So how are we able to get there without falling, without failing, without feeling lonely?
Honestly, we won’t. This is what I did not want to accept as a kid. And given the pure and unconditional nature of a child, you have endless energy to fight daemons or failures.
But this is what made us grow. Falling and standing up again.
But now, grown up and reflecting on my inner Rome I can see that it will be only the empathy towards myself and the compassion for my inner child which will lead me step by step to build up my Rome while facing the fact, that it can be very lonely and stormy.
When I think of empathy with myself, I have this image of a little child in front of my eyes, which I am embracing and trying to comfort and hold. I don’t succeed always, I am impatient, I don’t feel I deserve the embracing yet I am facing the same daemons.
But then sometimes I am trying to see my Rome on my inner landscape, I see the mountains to cross and the inner conflicts to conquer to get it built up and to actually arrive there. I am seeing that with the knowledge and trust, that I used to fall and I stood up again and it already let me here. And i know that this consistency in my mind and heart will lead me there.
And of course, there are days where its easy to connect with our Rome and the knowledge of what it takes, to get us there. And there are days where we are just tired of it. But to get there it’s the being on the way with all your beautiful self that matters most.
Realising the necessity of personal or professional change in our lives is the beginning of our own building process, it does not mean we are feeling the change already. This might be the hardest challenge on the way to our Rome: the patience and the feeling of empathy and compassion with ourselves along the way to feel the change. We need to see the perspective at the end in order to emerge this feeling of resilience.
This is I think what is meant by having trust in the process. This all comes when you go travelling to your inner self and beginning to realise your dreams. Rome, from the northern perspective, can be hot and crowded and full of (cultural) energy. And so will be the journey towards yourself.