One of the hardest things I grapple with is convincing myself that I do, that I am, enough.
There’s this incessant feeling ruminating in the background, this self-appraisal that often goes too far and bleeds into self-deprecation, that I should be doing more. That I should be further along. That I should be more than or less- confident, positive, secure, forgiving, responsible, kind, patient, loving, tolerant, trusting, insecure, critical, emotional, selfish, doubtful, resentful- than what I currently am.
I tell myself stories. Internal dialog that only I can hear, accept, or protest. These stories that I tell myself are scare tactics and a desperate preventative measure that a younger, more scared Sarah developed to protect herself. I spent more than a decade constructing a safe room that I could go and hide in when I was feeling exposed, challenged, or generally uncomfortable with the world around me. When things got too real for me, I would tell myself a story- I can’t, I’m broken, I’ll never get past this, I’ll never be better, I’ll never learn how- and go hide in that safe room.
The part of me that plays this tape of self-sabotage, the part of me that lets fear run rampant in the driver’s seat, it’s a diversion from the truth, from my truth. It no longer serves me. It is no longer helpful. It’s not even true. But expunging it? Removing it from my daily behavior and go-to when I feel scared or unsure? Now that’s the real trick. That’s where the growth lies.
There’s a book I read that is filled with daily meditations.
“When you have to make a decision or take a certain action, all that you can do is to do the best you know at that time, and if you do that you will have done your duty.” it said.
At the time I was developing my internal dialog about being broken and hopeless, the best I could do was adopt these protective mechanisms. Now I have been gifted with the opportunity to do something different, to do my best in this time I now stand in. I have been shown there is another way. A different way. A new path that I must explore.
Lean in. Don’t balk at the fear. Embrace the discomfort. Have faith.
The best part? Miracles of triumph and progress keep popping up like wild flowers in a field full of blooms. I see my life changing. I see myself questioning these stories I have always told myself. Where did they come from? Are they even true?
What is my truth?
My truth is that I am continuing to work. I am continuing to fall short. I am continuing to try new strategies and when one thing doesn’t work, I try something new. Again and again. I’m stretching. I am at my growing edge. I give it everything I’ve got. Many days, that is not enough in my book. But my truth is that it has to be enough. It must be enough to give as much as I possibly can every single day, investing in myself like a retirement fund. What it feels like is a lot of never-ending discomfort.
My North Star is hope. It’s deeper relationships. It’s giving more of myself. It’s living a life based on principle and ideals and connection. It’s never giving up on trying to fulfill the purpose that God has set for me.
If I keep looking at where I am falling short, I will miss all of the wins that I am accomplishing along the way. Some of the wins are so big I can’t even believe that this is my life. These wins are crucial. They help to temper the losses and the grief and highlight the silver linings that are present in every experience.
There’s incredible power in fighting like hell, not letting challenges tank you, and instead inviting them to sharpen you and soften you into a stronger, more resilient, more dedicated, and more effective person. You’ll find after that you are capable of giving more of yourself than you thought was possible and realize you have been filling your tank of self-love along the way. All on your own.
All the doubt and the fear and worry show you that you will continue to learn and fail and overcome and blossom.
And so we grow.
I hope you never give up on following your North Star.