You want to know what one of my biggest insecurities is? One of the biggest things that holds me back from taking advantage of opportunities and making connections with people? The thing that makes everything in my head go "pop, fizz" when having a totally average conversation with someone? It's the fear that I have nothing of value to add. It's the fear that who I am as a person is so sub par that I do not benefit the people around me. Even when I do something right and I am applauded for it, I am filled with a terror that I will have to find exactly the right combination of steps to repeat whatever good thing I did over and over again because now I've created an expectation!
I avoid situations that might lead to me being required to contribute and when I can't avoid them, I work so hard and put so much effort into contributing something decent that two things happen. I completely burn myself out and I go so over the top that I often get accused of being an overachiever. After I graduated college, I actually had a teacher tell me that they were dramatically reducing the expectations of our final portfolio presentations because of students like me who took it to extremes. I felt so utterly deflated. I had worked so hard to show my value and I had somehow broke the whole system? What?
I've grown to understand that it's an unreasonable fear because it's impossible to be valuable to every person and situation I encounter. Sometimes I will fail and sometimes I will succeed. I know this. But, it's a matter of feeling this, as well.
Last fall I made the decision to be more open to people and opportunities that come my way and I think I've done a good job. I started this blog back up, I said yes to so many things that I would have hid from before. But, it's also made me keenly aware of why I hid from so much. Not being good enough sucks! I feel rejection to my core and I take on every situation like I'm taking on a charging bull. With the hard expectation of critical failure.
So, at the precipice of another autumn, I'm pledging something else to myself. I will see my own value. I will value my time. I will value my talent. I will value my intelligence. I will value the entirety of my parts and what that allows me to offer to other people and at the same time I will accept that it is ok if someone else doesn't value me the way I do.
You can fail a test. You can fail at a game. But, you cannot fail at being a person.
That means I am not going to point out all the ways that these photos make me feel like a failure. I'm going to try to see all the things in these photos that are the exact opposite of failure. Yes, it was raining and I was rushed. Yes, I was struggling with a remote and getting the camera to focus on me. But, why would I let those things eat me up when I went out and did any of this in the first place? I was brave enough to dance around in front of a camera while people watched. I was skilled enough to make my own skirt. I took the time and effort to style this outfit and package up my creativity into this blog post and I am happy to put all those good, valuable things out into the world.
And I want you to know all the same things about yourself! You are wonderful and valuable and there is good in everything you feel like you failed at just because you did it and you did it like no one else could.