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Commit to Doing Something Badly

This was one of my recent lightbulb moments.

It feels silly that that just recently donned on me. It seems like such a basic and obvious idea but to me it wasn’t and still isn’t something I 100% believe. 

I know I’m not alone in this. That is why I decided to share this experience you. This is a problem a lot of people face, even though you logically know you can’t be the best at everything your brain tells you otherwise and reminds when you don’t measure up. 

You are probably always pushing yourself to be the best, to achieve the next thing, not only at school but in your personal life too. Once you meet your goal you find you still struggle with the same feelings of inadequacy. You can’t exactly pinpoint why you feel that way, but you do, you just don’t feel good enough. This robs you of the joy you should feel from all you’ve accomplished. 

I realized how ingrained and automatic these thoughts were after I graduated from my Master’s program. I should have felt proud and relieved but instead I felt ashamed. I felt like I did a bad job, I didn’t work as hard as the other students, I didn’t know as much. I felt like a sham and I was sure I would never get a job. While I was spiraling into this similar thought pattern I had a light bulb moment. A very liberating thought popped into my head 

“You don’t have to be the best at                           , someone else can be”. 

I felt a sense of relief because the pressure I put on myself is pretty overwhelming sometimes. On top of that, when I am constantly trying to be the best I don’t let other people shine, I one up people or need to be extra prepared. I take that space that should be reserved for others.

 I am what I am, I have my strengths and I have my weaknesses. There are somethings I am very good at and there are things that other people can do better. I am not letting other people be their best because I am too busy worrying about my own talents (or lack thereof). I am not recognizing and celebrating the talents of others. 

I attribute this new perspective to the fact that I have tried something new, I joined a slow-pitch team this summer. I am not sporty at all, I actively avoided gym in high school. I still feel panicky when I think of gym class. So, joining this team was out of my comfort zone (to say the least). Thankfully this team was full of friendly people who were forgiving of my lack of athleticism. 

I gravitate towards things I know I can do well, as I imagine most people do. So commiting to something I’m bad at has stretched me in new ways. It has given me the opportunity to ask lot’s of stupid questions, mess up and generally embarrass myself in front of a whole bunch of people over and over again. This experience has warmed me up to feeling uncomfortable, showing up to perform badly and generally made me embrace mediocrity, which happened to be just what I needed! 

My perfectionist tendencies have been in my head for as long as I can remember so this one experience isn’t going to change me forever but I think it is one step towards self compassion. So if you can relate to my story I suggest you go out and find something you can be bad at too!