“You are all I’ve longed for, all I’ve worshipped, and all I’ve adored.” Sinatra
Gentle readers, the rivers of words might actually dry up after this big topic, which has wrought so much havoc in my life.
We all know an overachiever turned hippie or rebel, or someone who went from the small pond to the big one and became a crazy fish in existential angst. I am that person, or so the story I tell myself goes.
Long story short, when I didn’t find a career track job after doing really well in college and in general up to that point, I blamed myself, not the economy, and went a little cray-cray. Realized I didn’t have much real direction in life and there was a ton of world to see, so I went to France and taught English for seven months. Best therapy one could ever hope for, and I’m still somewhat figuring it out now but in much better place both materially and spiritually (grad school and inner peace, yeah!). I have GOALS! And a new lease on life, which I’m about to share with you now.
Whenever I didn’t have what I wanted, throughout my whole life, I believed it was because there was something wrong with me. Something that I could fix with enough elbow grease, and that one day I would be thin, organized, and have it all together. When I didn’t get the job, it was because I wasn’t prepared. When I didn’t get the guy, it was because I was too much of something or other. When I didn’t have the kind of friendships I wanted, it was because I was weird or not a good enough friend. When people didn’t get me, it was because I was selfish or strange or didn’t have all the rest of my shit figured out and no one wants to hang with a crazy. You get the picture. Self-responsibility taken to an extreme no one wants to go. [Of course there was the quest for the ideal weight at which happiness would magically appear, because if I am only virtuous enough I can be exactly like a model and I can finally respect myself for being the way I want to be.]
So I blamed everything that was wrong in my life on myself. I believed that if I were perfect, my life would be perfect. Even the Law of Attraction seemed to be pointing in that direction. Conventional wisdom particularly applies the line of thinking that, “If you don’t have it yet, you’re not good enough,” to love of all, telling us, “it will happen when you aren’t looking for it,” “It happens when you least expect it,” etc. There is definitely the implication that there is something WRONG with you for even looking for it. People respect the search for career fulfillment a little bit more, but they are pretty quick to tell you to take what you can get and it takes TIME and EXPERIENCE to get what you want. In other words, don’t whine because YOU HAVEN’T PUT IN THE WORK TO GET THE WORK. Well, how can I put in the work if I can’t get a job? And why can’t I get a job in the first place? Why can’t I figure out what job I want to get? Why am I so lazy? AAAHHH!
While this line of thinking clearly doesn’t lead to happiness, what is not immediately obvious is whether it will help you achieve your goals. The short answer is, maybe, in the short run, but not when you are all burnt out from hating yourself. And when you hate yourself, it is hard to find work you love, a loving relationship, the self-respect to want to go to the gym to take care of yourself, and get out of bed in the morning. In fact, it makes you really hard to be around for certain types of friends as well, which really doesn’t help in your hour of need. So I got to the point where I had to do something that excited me a little bit, and didn’t have anything to do with my original life plans at all. I went to France. France prompted all kinds of awesome personal growth and amazing experiences- check out some earlier posts if you are interested. I liked myself better and better, little by little, and realized how we are all impacted by our environment. In other words, it is not always your fault, and sometimes the lemonade you make from those lemons life gives you will be the sweetest thing you’ve ever had to drink.
The big aha moment that set me free really came in the wake of writing my last blog post. I am enough. Yes, me. I am not to blame for all the troubles in my life. In fact, I feel like I’ve done a damn good job of dealing with the hand I have been dealt, grateful as I am for all the luck of the draw that I had. I totally exist outside of how I measure up to my self-imposed measures of success. Sure, those measures have gotten a little wiser over the years- I care about happiness more than achievement these days- but they are no less out of my control to have completely fulfilled. I am genuinely making progress-what is this navel-gazing exercise if not that?- and learning and growing along the way. That, my friends, is the real process of self perfection- letting LIFE shape you into something better than you could possibly have imagined on your own, and learning to love everything and everybody, including yourself, as close to unconditionally as possible.
But stop! Is not achieving self-love a reason to start self-judging and hating? Not at all- trust the process. It takes a little faith. There is no “there” to get to. Your milestones will keep on changing, goals will come and go, gains and losses, fair weather and foul. But through it all, you (that’s me, too) are wonderful. There is no one else like you, even if you love One Direction too- (that’s what makes you beautiful). Your soul is beautiful enough for Jesse McCartney already even if he hasn’t shown up on horseback yet. You don’t have the corner office (do you really want the corner office?) but that is okay. You have to let yourself learn and grow.
You are perfect in your imperfections, and if you don’t believe it, you will hang out with the wrong people who will make you believe the opposite and drag you down further. How are supposed to be happy if you don’t like yourself? How are you supposed to be the best self you can if you think you have ot be your definition of perfect all the time. Who says that is the best but you? Sure, you have the right to your own standards, but you exist as you at this moment for a reason. Even if you don’t know it yet and never will. Please don’t hate.
Reality check: Perfection does not exist among humans. And as Sister Hazel (love early 90s alternative!) says, “If you want to be somebody else, change your mind.” You can’t turn into a god or an alien, so get used to just doing what you can. You are enough even though you can’t be the best at everything, just believe it! And I guarantee, there is someone in your life who wants you to believe it too!
Truly, I didn’t realize how cool I was until I saw my blog and reread a little, and I was like, damn straight, I am on to something here.Who am I to talk, you say, as you’ve probably already found tons of grammatical and punctuation errors in this entry alone. I don’t claim to be perfect, I just claim to be genuine, which is much, much harder. Anyone can spell-check, not everyone will think an original thought much less communicate it. I am sure you are more than capable of doing the same- draw a picture and hang it on your fridge or something! Be happy with everything you are and stop wishing to be more; you are probably ignoring the strengths you have.
So stop the man hunt. Stop trying to be perfect. Right NOW! And just be you instead, the most and best and truest you can.
All my love,