“It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away. It’s a slow fade when black and white are turned to gray. And thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid when you give yourself away. People never crumble in a day. It’s a slow fade.”
These are the lyrics to a popular Christian song (played in the movie Fireproof) and it can really get you thinking. This is something that has been on my mind for a while which is why it’s very similar to my post “Slowly.”
If you take a step back and look at yourself today, would you have been proud of what you see 5 years ago? Are you the same person, or have you let down your guard and become completely different a little at a time?
This slow fade can appear in so many aspects of our life. I remember in my accounting and business classes, the professors would drill this concept into us. When studying famous “white collar crimes,” such as Enron and HealthSouth, people always asked, “How can good people do bad things that result in them going to jail?” Many of these people were church-going family people. However, they slowly faded into a white collar criminal by doing a little more each time. Over time, they justified doing small things that were wrong but didn’t seem like a big deal at the time.
For example, in an office job, it would be easy to lie or exaggerate the hours you worked (to get paid a little more). Many businesses have pressure on them to reach certain financial goals, and when they don’t meet the goals, the company looks bad. At this point, it may be tempting to adjust the books in small ways to appear to meet those goals. It may be that one person’s decision or pressure from their boss. Little by little it can turn into a big mess, such as a company that looked good financially going bankrupt. Or “good people” and CEOs getting arrested. Be careful what you justify is ok to do. It’s a slow fade when black and white (right and wrong) turn to gray. Hence the 50 Shades of Grey series…
What about the slow fade of a woman caught in an abusive relationship? Everything is fine at first. But, after time, she knows not to bring up certain topics, not to talk to certain people, not to go out and do anything entertaining, not to post certain pictures, etc. all for fear of what will happen. Would you start a relationship knowing it would turn out like that? No, no one would, it’s a slow fade to get to that point. Usually, the man justifies his actions and makes the woman feel guilty for even questioning him. Many times the woman ends up not talking to her long-time friends anymore, and not participating in her former hobbies or groups. In the same way, you wouldn’t get into a relationship knowing the man would (eventually) constantly yell, accuse, lie, and call names. However, too many women allow men to break down their self-esteem a little at a time and allow more and more from the person.
Take a step back and look at your relationship. Do the details of it make you happy? Have you come a long way from who you used to be? Please know, if this is you, I’m not judging you. I’ve just seen this happen too many times with people I know and it helps to get an outside perspective. If you are unfortunately part of this group of people, please get out, or reach out to someone and get help.
The same could be said for gaining weight or losing weight. Neither happens overnight, but slowly, a little bit at a time. This is also true with money. I often wonder at the end of the month, “Where did all my money go?” Well, if you have to ask that question, it was probably spent a little at a time, on fast food or miscellaneous things. Little by little, the bank account kept going down.
On the contrary, a slow fade doesn’t have to be a bad thing. What if you put money into savings a little at a time, such as $20 a month. Slowly but surely, one day you will have a pretty significant balance in your account. Just like with losing weight, it doesn’t happen at once, but a little at a time until you look back and realize you’ve lost 30 pounds. Also, you could consider the weight gained in pregnancy. At the beginning, the woman doesn’t have any extra weight, nor a big belly. Day after day, she could look in the mirror and see the same thing she saw the previous day. But we know that after 9 months, she will see a huge difference from before being pregnant. Changes happen slowly, just a little at a time, good or bad.
It’s also a slow fade when learning a new hobby. Or, in that case slowly spending less and less time doing the things you enjoy. One day you realize you haven’t spent time on your favorite hobbies in years. If, instead, you are learning a new hobby or skill, it takes time to achieve an expert level. You cannot be great at something new in one day, but little by little over time, and with practice and repetition.
So, my question is, are you happy with the person in the mirror? Or are you disappointed that you’ve changed so much? Would your old self be proud of the person you are today? We make decisions everyday that seem not to have any real effect, but in time, most of them do. Are you slowly fading away from who you used to be or slowly making progress on yourself?
This is a long way of saying this is something I think about often. Am I the person I wanted to be? The wife, mother, friend, etc. I thought I would be years ago? More importantly, am I the person GOD designed me to be? I’m trying to make progress on myself in every role I have, to be a better person than I was the day before.