Guys, I’m feeling kinda feisty. I’m gonna let it all out and hope that it comes out making sense, ok?
As you know, the idea of authenticity, flaws, and blogging have been swirling around the interwebs and here on MML lately. Something’s in the air and it feels like the honest breeze is a welcome change for a lot of people.
But I’m feeling feisty about the fact that though it’s great that this transparency is surfacing, it really is not essential for our own self-confidence. Yes, it’s wonderful to see the less ideal side of the people we admire. But even if we don’t see it all the time, we should first know that they are still human beings who have struggles and may not be comfortable sharing them at that moment (like Dooce and her separation or Joanna and her depression), and also that we are no less awesome than they are.
While every now and then I personally do feel pangs of jealousy when I see someone with a rare gift or talent (I can’t sing, don’t have a ton of money to buy all the clothes I like, and cooking just is not in my blood), it usually doesn’t sit with me for very long.
And while there may be a small element of my personality that is to blame for this, I think it also comes from my own journey toward truth.
You see, if you’ve read my about page, you know that I faced a lot of monsters in college and was one of the most insecure people that I knew back then. I wanted to be like everyone else, have what they had, and look like they looked. I wanted a guy to make me complete. And with every candy bar that I binged, bag that I bought, or lipstick that I wore, I hoped that I would suddenly be the perfect person that I so desperately wanted to be.
I wanted to feel Complete. And Happy. Oh, and Perfect was good too.
But each attempt at completion through these external things left me feeling empty inside and could not satiate my appetite. Quite literally.
… Until I read the quote by Michelangelo that changed my life and showed me my purpose. When asked about how he could create the David statue out of just a simple piece of stone, he replied that it was easy; he saw the potential within the stone and simply needed to remove the layers that were hiding it all along.
I had been approaching my troubles by adding layers to my life in the form of clothing, men, candy bars, purses, you name it. And none of this excess really changed me at all. My physical and mental clutter just covered up the person that I wanted so despeartely to be.
I didn’t really want to be someone else, I really wanted to be the “me” that was dormant inside of myself all along.
So I first attacked the physical clutter that I didn’t need, use, or love. Then, I worked hard for several years to work on only eating and exercising according to what I needed, used, and loved. After that it was about making my career about what I need, use, and love. And most recently it has been about removing completion expectations from my relationship.
All the while, it’s clear to see that I stopped looking outside myself for anything beyond gentle inspiration. Sure, I love how skilled Oprah was at delivering her gift, and how effortlessly Kendi gets dressed. But I never tried to be Oprah or Kendi.
As my lady Joyce Meyers has said, just recognize that in some way the blessings in people’s lives balance out the other negative things in their lives. If you knew everything that they went through in their lives to be where they are today, chances are you would not want to trade lives at all. I keep this in mind whenever those pangs of jealousy start to crop up when reading online and they seem to dissolve pretty quickly.
Though I’d love to be as influential and helpful as Joyce or Oprah, both were severely sexually abused in their childhood. Which is something I would never trade for the fame and popularity that came with their careers.
So I go back to focusing on my intentions for my life and the progress that I’m making. It’s about producing my own success story.
Therefore, for those who might be struggling with these envy pangs and the rat race of comparison, I beg you to study The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (or some other book that will help you focus on yourself), write a future letter to yourself that explains what you want out of your own life… and just keep working on YOU.
For the rest of your life, not just the next two weeks. Forever.
As Mrs. Meyers likes to repeat, “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. I’m doing okay and I’m on my way.”