The eyes of others

This post is dedicated to anyone and everyone is more often than not their own worst critic. Who sometimes doubts themselves more than they should and finds themselves wondering most of the time.

I am guilty of getting stuck inside my own head more often than not. The majority of my life I battled this silently. I expect a lot. In my youth I expected myself to play a game of basketball flawlessly, win every track event, get straight A’s and generally never make a mistake. Expecting a lot of yourself and rising to said expectations is a good quality to have. It means you push yourself, you dream big and refuse to accept failure. The question becomes, what happens when you do fail? Can you accept failure and learn from it?

Until recently, I wasn’t so sure about my acceptance of failure. Or how I saw myself. Sometimes through the eyes of others we learn more about ourselves. Sometimes what others have to say may even surprise you in a good way. And sometimes you begin to learn to cut yourself a little slack.

What have I been surprised by? The love of two little boys who see me like a second Mom, give me hugs and kisses and say I love you. Having a friend who asks me about political issues because well I am knowledgeable about that sort of thing and apparently smart enough to explain it. Coworkers who uplift you and remind you how amazing you are when you feel like you are absolutely terrible at your job. A man who after reading the entirety of your blog says, You are really quite exceptional. How did you become this way? Parents who tell you that when given a challenge, you thrive and find a solution (I often do not feel this way, rather more bumbling actually).

I am still working on the latter. Learning how to reign myself in is not easy. My mom has used squirt bottles and shaker cans (pop bottles with pennies in them) to train and teach corrective behavior in dogs. Sometimes I think I need something like that for myself. Instead I have started to tell myself (literally), you are human and one person, you make mistakes, you learn. Stop being so hard on yourself. You alone do not have to solve the world’s problems. And sometimes I just tell myself to shut up and be patient.

And yes, I expect my life to mean something. Solve environmental problems-check. Improve the education of our youth-check. Spur social change-check. Make animals lives better-check.

My advice, remember the things that surprise you. Life is full of doubt, bumps and uncertainty. The surprises help to pull you along the way.


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