We try to change all the time. Life is about growing, about being able to say that we went from here to there but I’m learning that that’s not always realistic. The more pressure we put on ourselves to change, to “grow up,” the more likely we are to repeat the same mistakes.
It’s important to be honest with ourselves, to face the reality of being human and all of its implied imperfections. Ask yourself: Will there ever be a moment in your life when you will stop feeling regret and shame for the things you have or haven’t done? Our culture runs on regret and shame. It fuels the fashion industry, the liquor companies, the magazines we buy telling us how to better. People are banking on us always feeling like crap. The second we become okay with ourselves, the less reliant we become on “stuff.” And then, oh my god, the whole world goes ka-boom!
It’s important to be okay with who you are, to accept that you might always feel lost and have moments where you need your parents’ guidance. That’s not called being a clueless 20-something. It’s more like, “I popped out of your vagina and now I will always feel connected to you and rely on you for support.” Feeling helpless is normal. THE WORLD IS FREAKING CONFUSING TO NAVIGATE. But now there’s this stigma attached to it. Everyone is convinced that the person next to them has figured out the world before they have. It’s a race. The first person to know how to cook a savory dinner and pay their bills on time while still maintaining a healthy relationship wins! Their grand prize? Uh… not sure yet. Bragging rights? Making your peers feel even more inferior?
You will feel stupid about a lot of the things that you do. You will question yourself and your decisions. Can you trust your thought process? Do you know what the hell you’re doing? The answer always is no. For everyone.
The goal here should be about becoming comfortable in your own skin. The people I look up to the most aren’t the ones with a great spice rack and decorating scheme (those people are often more psycho than those who still sleep on a mattress on the floor) but the ones who have a sort of “effortlessness” to their personality and life. They feel lived in, comfortable with where they’re at. I love that. I want that and I know that one day I will have it. One day I will trust myself and love myself and not be ruled by so much anxiety and fear. I know I will because I see myself already changing and moving toward that.
That’s the true definition of success, in my opinion. Just being totally accepting of yourself and where you’re at in your life. Okay, “totally accepting” might be a stretch. I feel like there’s always a certain level of self-doubt that’s healthy. We should have that. You don’t want to go through life without questioning anything that you do. I guess it’s just about getting to a place of calm, of not constantly measuring yourself against others because I guarantee that if you do that, you’re always going to fall short.
Face it, you’re a beautiful hot mess! You’re not going to get some magic dose of clarity on your 30th birthday, this “a-ha!” moment on how to be happy and loved, so the best you can do is just go with it. Take things as they come. That’s all you can do. Otherwise, you’re just getting in your own way.
(Also, how come as you get older, you start relating to the annoying self-help things your grandmother and parents used to feed you when you were a kid? Is growing up just about understanding inspirational quotes and embracing bumper sticker logic? Um, I hope not because I AM NEVER POSTING AN INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE ON MY FACEBOOK/TWITTER. I DON’T CARE HOW SELF-ACTUALIZED I AM. I WILL NEVER “DANCE LIKE NOBODY’S WATCHING.”)
ryan o’connell (aka my new hero for writing this) | the thought catalog
it doesn’t take much to suddenly feel as if you have no idea who you are anymore, that the image in the mirror has become a stranger; foreign; unfamiliar. and yeah, it’s a bit unnerving to think that, even at this age (i’m assuming you’re a twenty-something or maybe a thirty-something), your self-awareness is still not as solidified as you’ve always heard it would be at this juncture (because apparently at 25 or 30 things just all of a sudden make sense? hardly), but you know what? if i’ve realized anything, it’s that it’s OKAY. it’s better than okay, it’s called BEING HUMAN, and well, you kind of can’t help that (unless you’re an animal and you’ve taught yourself to read and find this blog, then i say, well done).
turns out nothing ever is exactly like people tell you it’s going to be. sometimes it’s harder, sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s WAY more awkward, too. but i think the beauty is experiencing it all for yourself. gleaning that knowledge in your own time and on your own terms. realizing your humanity in your shortcomings and also embracing the fact you are destined to have a freak out about what it is you’re doing with your life and who it is that you’ve somehow become along the way. because that’s normal. because that’s healthy. and everyone else who says they aren’t going through the exact same things is lying. because truth is, no one has the answers. and if they do, they certainly aren’t sharing them.
so it’s best to surround yourself with people who can remind you of you when you occasionally lose her(him) in the rat race of life. to consult psalm 139 over and over again. to not worry about who you are becoming so much and rather focus on who you are at this exact moment. because believe me, you’re something special. you have to believe that. you’re a beautiful hot mess! and that’s better than an ugly cold mess, right?
bottom line: you’re never going to be perfect. turns out, only Jesus had that one covered. so the less we worry about what we’re not becoming or what we’re not doing, the more we can simply relish in the fact that this life thing, albeit confusing and scary as heck sometimes (see also, most of the time), is also crazy awesome. so live it. just as you are. today.
so love yourself. trust yourself. believe in yourself. and gosh, please laugh at yourself, too.