There’s this saying that says: “You are your own worst enemy”, and it’s true. At the end of the day the only person that is really truly holding you back is yourself. If there was a cover model for that saying it would probably be me. I am the queen of settling for less, underestimating my capabilities, and not giving myself the chances I deserve, just because I don’t think that I have the potential to do so. In the last five years I have become so comfortable in choosing the easy route, that when I am given no option other than the challenging path, all I can do is buckle at the knees and worry, only to somehow find a way out of it. It’s not because I don’t have the capability or potential to succeed on the challenging route, but rather because we have been raised in a society that tells us to choose that path that requires the least amount of work to succeed, and be successful, because then we can never fail. I have been raised to fear the unknown, and I am not the only one.
The fear of failure is so great that some of us will live our entire lives without ever stepping outside of our comfort zone, to take a leap of faith, and to explore the great unknown. I don’t know why we are so afraid of failure, and I probably never will, but I do know that without risks we never truly understand what some of our greatest capabilities are. You always hear stories of people dying, or watch in movies as they say their last words and it is always something along the lines of: “I wish I would have _____,” or “Tell so and so _____”. I will never forget the first time I watched someone die, as they took their last breath right in front of me. Their chest rose for the last time, and as they slowly exhaled I watched the monitors fall, and then I heard the flatline of the machines, and there right in front of me, in a matter of just a few minutes they were gone, forever. And I wondered, did they do everything they wanted to? Did they tell everyone they loved, that they loved them? Did they leave with regrets, or were they content with the life they lived.
I know I am not the only one that sets goals and ambitions for myself, only to push them aside and tell myself “I’ll get to it someday”, only to realize later that the someday I so often speak of may never come, and that I had in fact just let something slip through my fingers for some reason or another. The whole idea of life really is strange, and I think it’s really easy to take advantage of without ever realizing how quickly it can all be taken away.
I assume often that the people I love know I love them, that my ambitions are known, and that should for some reason I leave the earth today, that I would be content with the life I have lived. But I am not sure that is the case because I so often assume that those around me know that I love them, that I forget to even say it, and I assume that I will get around to my goals someday because I have a whole lifetime ahead of me, filled with so much time.
I don’t know everything, in fact I know very little, after all I can’t even explain to you how to efficiently cut a mango and everyone should know how to do that, but I do know that so often we settle for less, and forget to live effortlessly for fear of whatever is ahead.
I have this theory that if maybe we all started to live a little more confidently, to believe in ourselves a little more, and to not let our past determine our future, then maybe we would have the capability to create a society that encourages others to take a leap of faith, because they know that if we have no fear of failure, then we can’t fail, we can only learn, and maybe, just maybe actually succeed!
I have done this “thing” for the past five years where I have come up with a handful of reasons as to why I was not capable of achieving what I wanted to, the most common offender:” because I am sick”. Every now and then someone will call my bluff and say something along the lines of “bull shit Merideth, you are no different than anyone else”, and then in a matter of seconds my pity party for myself has come to an end and I am forced to grow up and attempt the challenging route, because someone else around me has noticed my potential and won’t stand around to watch me once again, settle for less. I am thankful for these people, because they remind me to live body, and to continue to challenge myself, but they are not always there, and they shouldn’t be. I need to learn, and to teach myself to be my own biggest supporter. I need to train the voice in my head to push myself to new heights, instead of tell myself to crawl back into my zone of comfort. We need to continuously and constantly support, and push each other so that someday we will be instilled with the confidence to overcome, and pursue, even our wildest of dreams.
The easy route is always easy, and the hard route is always hard, but the hard route comes with great feeling of accomplishment, and that is something we should always strive for, because you are never guaranteed another tomorrow, and you should never have to leave with regrets, and unsaid words. The great unknown will always be unknown, but it doesn’t have to be scary, and we don’t have to gip ourselves of someday making it there.