This week, I learned a hard lesson in humility.
A few exciting doors and opportunities I’d been exploring were closed, and for the first time in a while, I realized just how sad that made me feel. And I really felt it. Not just that “ugh that really sucks… for 5 minutes” feeling. I mean the “oh-my-goodness, rock you to the core, I feel really empty and defeated” feeling.
And it was not fun. It was really hard.
And like the try-hard perfectionist I am, my action-plan (because yes, I do that) was to convince myself that just like any other feeling, it’d slowly drift away, if I could simply distract myself, push it far enough away from the here and now.
But I tried, and it still hurt.
And it still hurts, writing these words now.
In fact, the words may hurt even more.
It hurts because it’s not something I’d ever like to admit out loud. It’s one of those things that points out something I’ve struggled with since I was young. The belief that I can do it all, that I can solve my own problems without anyone else ever knowing… that I’m my greatest fixer. That if I just try hard enough, I can smile and pretend that those doors and opportunities didn’t mean anything to me.
But that would be a lie, because they did.
And the fact that they were closed so suddenly made me sad and disappointed and upset. Disappointed in myself, but also disappointed because that decision felt like a reflection on my character and intelligence. It felt a lot like rejection. Because truthfully, it was rejection. And that, friends, is hard for me to admit. It’s one of those things that makes you breathe a little deeper and choke back tears when you start thinking about it for too long. Thinking that for some reason, you failed to live up to somebody’s expectation. You weren’t enough. You weren’t the right fit. You just weren’t the person they initially thought you were.
Most of us struggle with rejection. It’s human nature to crave acceptance and love and appreciation and acknowledgement. And when that doesn’t happen, we automatically think something is wrong with us. And it spirals and starts to affect other areas of our lives. Makes us believe lies about ourselves that hide a real truth. A truth that I’m definitely still learning… the truth that at the end of the day, other people can’t define you. Work can’t define you. Hobbies can’t define you. Interests can’t define you. Intelligence can’t define you. Appearance can’t define you. None of it can. And no one has the right to steal your confidence, your integrity, and the belief that you’re enough exactly as you are. Every flaw and strength and weakness and character trait, and talent and failure. It’s all enough. More than enough, even.
Sometimes I think I’m supposed to be invincible. Strong and perfect and always put together. Sometimes it feels like I’m supposed to win at everything, succeed at everything, do great things and make a name for myself, because people are expecting it of me. And truthfully, the more I believe it, the more it feels like a dark cloud of pressure raining unrealistic expectations, slowly crushing me until something like this makes me realize that none of it matters. And, even better, that we’re not supposed to go through any of this stuff alone. That’s what other people’s shoulders are for.
So from the girl who tries to fix everything herself … from the girl who believes that if she admits weakness or defeat or failure, that people will think less of her … from the girl who needs a shoulder just like the rest of ’em… the truth is that we’re not our greatest fixer. And we’re not meant to be. And we fail. And we fall on our face. And doors are closed just as fast as new ones are opened. But it’s ok. It’s all ok.
And sometimes, it takes a long run, a friend, a lot of sweat, and a good cry to realize that.
And for those things, I am so thankful.