For years I was told that I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have what it took to be anything great. I was told I was too fat, too short, not smart enough and that being extraordinary was for someone else. I heard that my main job in life was to please others, no matter the cost. Everyone else was more important than me, and any thought or action that said otherwise was completely selfish.
I was made to believe that if I took even one wrong step: had a bad day, made one mistake, disagreed with just one opinion or belief, that I would be an outcast for life. There was just nothing likeable about me if I didn’t think and act perfectly.
I was told I shouldn’t try to write or encourage people: someone else has already done it, and done it way better. I couldn’t be a good mom, I wasn’t a good wife, and I shouldn’t listen to music by Hanson because it wasn’t that cool.
Who would cause that kind of abuse to a person?
It was me. That voice was my own head, my own thoughts about myself and I listened to it over everything else. No matter what I achieved, what compliments were thrown my way, I let that voice hold me hostage from dreaming, living, even loving well. It kept me from seeing anything beautiful inside of myself and eventually it kept me from seeing beauty in others, too.
I did this all in the name of thoughtfulness. I was helping others by putting myself aside. People needed a strong person to rely on and as long as it made them like this too-fat-too-short-not-smart-enough girl, I was going to do it…
…until one day I saw it for what it was. The voice I was listening to was fear. It’s the fear that knew what I was actually capable of, and it didn’t want me even trying.
What voice are you listening to? Is it the one that says, ‘You’ll never be worth anything or do anything great with your life?’ Does it tell you, ‘You’re too old, too young, or too late?’ Let me tell you, it’s not a voice worth listening to. When you listen to it you feed it, and feeding it will take you down a path to a lonely life, held by fear and failure just from not trying, not pursuing, not dreaming.
Here’s what you can tell yourself instead:
“I AM WORTHY OF MY DREAMS”
The things you’re passionate about are worth pursuing. Part of taking care of yourself is to go for the things you love. Those are gifts planted inside of you for a reason and I believe the worlds needs those gifts from YOU.
“I DON’T HAVE TO DO IT PERFECTLY TO DO IT WELL”
Forget perfect. Perfect is a unicorn. Perfect is never going to happen. We weren’t meant to be perfect. We weren’t designed that way and chasing perfect will only leave you feeling frustrated, discouraged and out of breath.
As a girl with high standards, this is a tough one for me that I have to work on almost daily. I’ve always wanted the perfect house, perfect family, perfect clothes and perfect bangs. There’s no such thing as the “perfect” any of those; especially the bangs (am I right?!) But there IS “good enough.” There is a happiness than can come from “good enough.” There is peace that comes with “good enough.” Good enough IS enough.
In her book, Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist says this:
The ache for perfection keeps us isolated and exhausted – we keep people at arm’s length, if that, and we keep hustling, trying trying trying to reach some sort of ideal that never comes.”
So, what that tells me is that chasing perfection keeps us from so many – if not all – the things we want most; like community, rest, peace…Don’t let “perfect” rob you of the joy that comes with “good enough.”
“I CAN TRUST MYSELF”
It’s good to think something through. It’s good to think ahead and plan. But when all the thinking-through and planning keeps you from doing the thing you actually wanted to do in the first place, that’s when it’s time to let go and trust. Just start. Just go. Just Do It (Nike really knew what they were doing with that one). Is it sometimes a risk? Probably. Will you make mistakes? You can be sure of it. But sometimes mistakes can be the start of the most beautiful things we’ll ever experience.
You don’t have to second guess your gut. You CAN know what’s best for YOU, regardless of the opinion of others.
If I want to be something great, I can. If I have dreams, I go right on dreaming and pursuing them. And you better believe that I still sometimes listen to Hanson, because if listening to MMMBop is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.