Maybe it’s the fact that my birthday is coming up, but I seem to be living in a deep state of reflection this week. It dawned on me recently that part of what I have been struggling with is the fact that I’m not really special. Now hold on and let me explain- this isn’t a pity party to discuss my deficiencies, fishing for someone to “say it ain’t so”. This is about recognizing the additional pressure that so many of us put on ourselves through this insane idea of being “better” and putting a stop to it. Because what’s the saying?
You are unique… just like everybody else.
We all want to be extraordinary… even if it’s only at one thing. We want to be able to know within ourselves that there is that one thing that we excel at. Now I know I have a lot of great qualities, and there are many things that I do extremely well, but I also understand that no matter what it is- there is someone out there who can do it better. This isn’t new information to me. I’ve always known this, and it’s something that I have found creeping into my psyche at crucial moments throughout my life giving me an excuse to quit.
If I couldn’t be the best, I didn’t want to do it. (I have been trying to identify those areas within myself where I need work- pretty sure I’ve found it here.)
This goes back to my all or nothing attitude and the idea that in order to enjoy something or even participate, we have to be amazing at it. We don’t want to embrace the learning curve and grow in it, we want to be perfect coming out of the gate. How many things do we end up quitting, or worse, not even trying, because we don’t want to suck at it in the beginning?
I think about this journey that I’ve been on these last nine months, and I can see how many things I would have missed out on- how much I’ve learned, how many things I now love to do- if I had quit or refused to try because I didn’t want to look foolish while learning. Somewhere along the line we decided that learning was for children and that once we become adults, we should know everything we need to know. But then how do we grow? We hold ourselves, not to mention others, to these ridiculous expectations and stunt ourselves from truly living and opening ourselves up to incredible experiences. I came across a quote the other day that resonated with me. It said…
Don’t be afraid of not knowing something. Be afraid of not learning about it.
I thrive on learning and I don’t want to ever stop, but I have to allow myself a learning curve. I have to embrace the uncertainty that comes with learning, allow myself to be thought foolish, and make mistakes. And most importantly, I have to be ok with not ever being the best at whatever it is I am learning. A difficult task to say the least. Where this begins is with a need to look at my motives and remember why I’m doing whatever it is in the first place. Some of these experiences are just that, experiences, and nothing more. I’m not trying them so that I can become an expert and make that my life. I’m trying them for the sake of trying them. Some things I will never excel at because frankly, I don’t want to. I don’t want to spend my time and energy learning all there is to know about it. I want to try it to see what it’s about and move on my happy little way. It doesn’t have to become a part of my existence, and that’s something I tend to forget when I am starting to learn something new. As always, I’m a work in progress.
So out of this I did learn one thing. I am special. What makes me special is my desire to learn and willingness to try. I excel at being a jack of all trades- that is where I am a master. There may never be “one thing” that makes me stand out or makes me extraordinary, but I can see that my life is a patchwork quilt of so many different experiences- some incredible, some super shitty- and that is a pretty amazing thing. My quilt will never look like anyone else’s because of all those different patches, and that makes me special. I don’t have to be extraordinary; I just have to be me and be ok with who that woman is.