The same is true in the reverse.
When the United States Supreme Court issued it’s decision in Dobbs vs Jackson that overruled Roe v. Wade, the loss of a constitutional right to abortion hit many people as a sudden shock.
But this wasn’t sudden at all. It represented the culmination of a 50-year effort by opponents of abortion rights to chip away at these rights.
They played the long game.
We can see this in the personal sphere as well.
The breaking of a thing usually begins long before it breaks.
In the physical body, barring some acute trauma like a major accident, injury often occurs in a place that has weakened by neglect or misuse over a long span of time.
Take a common issue like “throwing your back out.” It may seem like your back “suddenly” went out. But it’s more likely that your back has been weak for a long time. Whatever precipitating force impacted your back most recently was most likely the “last straw” that finally sent your back into spasm.
This is also true in relationships. It’s natural to experience moments of resentment or discord. The problems begin when those small issues aren’t addressed.
Little resentments are like hairline fractures in the bones of a relationship. It may be easy to ignore them, to hope that they will go away if left to rest. But when those small resentments are not addressed and cleared, they build up. They become more vulnerable to external stressors.
Over time, they become bigger cracks.
“Suddenly” you turn around and there is no relationship. It either broke under the weight of an external stressor, or it disintegrated right in front of you without your noticing.
Once we recognize the pattern, we can see that in every corner of our lives our results are based on the consistent and persistent actions (or inactions) that we take (or don’t take) over the long arc of time.
The question to ask yourself is:
What am I building and what am I breaking?
How to Rebuild
The path to rebuilding and repairing likewise requires consistent actions over the long arc of time. Things that took time to break take time to heal.
This is true on both the personal and collective levels.
It’s tempting to fantasize about the big moves that might dramatically change the landscape. It’s more realistic to focus on the small moves that can be consistently applied to achieve sustainable results.