“On a deeper level you are already complete. When you realize that, there is a joyous energy behind what you do.” ~Eckhart Tolle
At 17 I had it all. I made straight As, was the vice president of the Honor Society, held two jobs, took the lead in four community theater performances, and joined Donnie Osmond onstage as part of the children’s chorus in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
I was busy. I did things well. I got attention. I was ready to snap.
I was so hungry for success and approval I’d do anything to get it, even if it meant exhausting and dehydrating myself straight to the ER.
What’s worse, I was continually dissatisfied with everything I did. I was my own punching bag.
Thirteen years later I don’t do nearly as much. I don’t take any classes. I don’t work much at the moment. I don’t perform anymore. On the other side of overexertion, I’ve still beaten myself up.
I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up—there’s something wrong with me.
I live across the country from my family, and haven’t justified it by becoming a massive success—there’s something wrong with me.
I’m obsessed with self improvement, but I’m still not perfect—there’s something wrong with me.
Stop. Revelation. Cue the spotlight: There’s nothing wrong with me.
And there’s nothing wrong with you.
Here’s how I know both of these statements are true:
1. You’re playing the game of life as best you know how, and trying to get better every day. You can’t possibly do someone else’s best, so there’s no point in stressing about it.
2. You make mistakes like everyone else, which allows you to learn as you go. That means you’re doing what you should be.
3. You’re unique, whether you’re introverted or outgoing, book smart or street smart, creative or technical—the list goes on and on. You’re the world’s only opportunity to know a person just like you. The only hope to share what only you can.
4. There’s no such thing as the way you should be. If you do what you enjoy and don’t harm other people, you’re living a beautiful life.
5. You will never become someone—you are someone right now, whether you influence millions of people or mean the world to just one person. Your impact is powerful, whether you realize it or not.
6. If someone hurts you, you don’t deserve it. No one does. End of conversation.
7. You feel emotions and respond to them. That’s the way this whole humanity things works. If you could stand to improve the way you respond, newsflash: everyone could.
8. You have a pulse right now, and it’s your choice what you do with it. There’s no right or wrong answer. (Unless what you want is to maim a puppy or something equally perverse.)
9. You choose what you think is best, or else you wouldn’t choose it. As you get new information and grow stronger and smarter, you’ll make different choices.
10. You are beautiful, inside and out.
I’ve printed this out and put it in my nightstand where I can read it when I get hard on myself. I hope it gives you comfort when you start thinking there’s a good reason to not enjoy right now.