I always tell myself that once I pass a certain goal post I’ll be good enough. Good enough to be able to say I write or I blog or I can bake. But as I watch the world around me or even as I watch completely fictional series I set those goal posts farther and farther way. At this rate I will never reach those goal posts. I will never be “good enough”.
“You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.” – Franz Kafka
I personally am not the top of my class in anything. This is not to be taken as a cry out for sympathy or anything like that. It’s just a fact.
This being said, I don’t want that to ever keep me from doing what I love. If I quit doing everything I love just because I know someone who can do it better, I’d be going nowhere. And that thought scares me a whole lot more than failing to be in the 99th percentile 100% of the time.
In different areas of our lives we have different standards. Different communities have different standards. What may have been considered as spectacular in one community may be considered mediocre in another. And as time passes these standards can rise or fall.
It’s not fair for any of us to base our achievements solely on the scales given to us, as they are relative. I'm not saying that we should disregard these standards completely or else we could end up overestimating our abilities. We just shouldn't forget to give ourselves credit.
I know a lot of really talented people. The school that I consider myself a part of recognises talent in many areas. And of course not everyone can be recognised for their efforts. There are people in the world who are clearly set apart from their peers in their chosen areas. And by saying we can write or do whatever we often put ourselves up to be compared to these people. I don’t think that this is necessarily a bad thing as it helps us see the work we have ahead of us.
At least for me, rather than this being an encouragement, I feel like the world is mocking me. As if the entire universe, including God who I know wants the best for me, is against the idea of me “achieving greatness”. I know that this is an irrational thought and that reeks of narcissism, but it is one that constantly crosses my mind.
“As long as we live, our self-absorption and our insecurity will walk together, holding hands and swinging them back and forth like two little girls on their way to a pretend playground they can never find. Human nature dictates that most often we will be as insecure as we are self-absorbed. The best possible way to keep from getting sucked into the superficial narcissistic mentality that money, possessions, and sensuality can satisfy and secure us is to deliberately give ourselves to something much greater...[Christ] showed us that giving, rather than getting, is the means to receiving...to find yourself, your true self, you must lose yourself in something larger.” ― Beth Moore, So Long, Insecurity: You've Been A Bad Friend To Us
If you work hard to be the best you can be in any given area, but no one recognises that fact, it doesn't change how hard you worked.
It’s so easy to base our lives on a scale where we either succeed or fail. It’s so easy to make this scale biased against ourselves. And when we think we've failed, it’s easy to give up. When you think about it from a logical perspective this concept doesn't make much sense. How can we get so upset and discouraged with ourselves when we know we did our best? And how does quitting help this situation?
Sometimes I wish that logic would win in my mind, but in times like this, it doesn't. I sit around yelling at God, despite what I know to be true: that I've done my best, and that I am doing my best.
Many times the risks I take come from a place where I feel like I have nothing to lose, rather than looking at what I may gain. I go in thinking, “If I fail, I fail.” End of experience. Rather than, “If I fail, I fail. At least now I know how to do _____ better.”
“6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” - 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NLT)
Sometimes we just have to give our all. Even when our best is not guaranteed and when “failure” seems inevitable. Even when we feel like the world is mocking us, we have to at least try. At least try to achieve greatness and at least try to learn from our disappointments.