Sometimes I forget how awesome I am.
Repeat that to yourself and see how it changes your day. It has taken me thirty-one years to figure out that it is okay for me to remind myself how awesome I am. See, every year, leading up to my birthday, I spend a week over-analyzing the last twelve months of my life and working to find some significance in my existence. I think I lead a pretty awesome life, so I always come up with some good stuff, but this year was especially poignant and revealing. I’d like to share my epiphany with you now :).
Now, before you label me a narcissistic, egotistical a##hole, please let me be clear. My “awesomeness”, (and your awesomeness as well), does not come from the cornucpoia of gifts we are blessed with, but rather from the plethora of faults, quirks, fu%$ ups, scars, misses and failures that constitute the majority of our lives. I believe these experiences are what teach us all the important lessons in life. I also believe it is an unrealistic expectation to tell oursevles to ignore our broken side, in favor of some impossible search for perfection. Which brough me to my lightbulb moment; I realized this year that it is okay to be who I am, with all the good, bad and ugly stuff that makes me “me”. I realized that I wanted live the life I want to live. With this realization, I made the choice to live authentically.
For some of you, my realization might be a simple reminder for how you already live your life. To you, I say, “well done”. Accepting yourself, with all the craziness and quirkiness that makes you “you”, is no easy task. The trial and error proccess of finding out who you really are, and then coming to terms with who you are, and then taking responsiblity and ownership of everything that makes you an individual, is not something easily acheived. You deserve all the confidence, self-respect, pride and happiness you’ve earned.
For others, this may be an entirely foreign concept. Like me, you probably grew up comparing yourself to some arbitrary standard, and attempting, with every fiber of your being, to be the person you imaginged other people thought you should be. You made concessions to other people’s opinions and advice, wanting so badly to be part of something bigger than yourself, but never really developing a personality or opinion of your own. As an adult, you continue this pattern by avoiding conflict, staying safe, coloring inside the lines. You are grateful for everything you have, but you have stopped dreaming and reaching for MORE. You are content with your life, but you have stopped pushing limits or taking risks, or tempting fate, because you worry you might ruin the “good thing” you have now. This mentality is killing our souls.
Growing another year older made me think back on the last twelve months of my life and evaluate what significance my life had. What impact did I have on world around me? What impact do I have on the people I spend time with? What challenges have I overcome? What lessons have I learned? What fears have I conquered? After thinking long and hard, I realized that I wasn’t living up to the standard I had set for myself. I was letting myself slip into comfort and safety. I was keeping up a facade in many aspects of my life, and working hard to convince myself that “settling” has it’s advantages. But that is not really who I want to be. That is not who I am.
Now, I am working to make every day an opportunity to life authentically and uapologetically as myself. It is okay for me to be good at what I do, and it is okay to be proud of my work. It is okay for me to be a less-than-perfect parent to my two beautiful children, and it is okay for me to be the best dad ever (when I can pull it off). It is okay for me love my amazing partner, and it is okay for me to show her how I feel in as many ways as I can possibly think of. Sometimes it is okay for me to be an asshole and a hermit. Sometimes it is okay for me to be vulnerable and broken. Sometimes I will throw a fit, and sometimes I won’t have the right answer and sometimes I will push too hard. But I will do all that knowing I have responsibility for my gifts and my curses, for my faults and talents, and I am living my life as the person I want to be. I encourage you to all try to do the same :).
Until next time..