Some days are better than others. Life can throw the most satisfying fast ball down the middle or it can throw a wicked curveball. There is no escaping the obstacles, doubts, and fears we have in life. We all have them to varying degrees and there is a very individualized response to everything that happens to us because we are all unique in our own way. There is no secret remedy and no easy fix.
To understand, let’s start back at the beginning.
Like many kids, I had dreams of fame and fortune. I was always the outgoing, athletic, intelligent child and was told that regularly. I didn’t have a traumatic event that triggered self doubt or destroyed my confidence. What I did have was years of small, seemingly insignificant events and interactions that began to shape how I saw myself and thus began to shape the direction of my life. Whether I knew it or not, all of those little things (words, comments, microexpressions, etc.), all took a little more away from my confidence. At the time, and even now, my coping mechanism is/was to hide as many of my imperfections as possible in hopes that no one would notice . While I realize some people see through it, I have never accepted that being me, in all of my imperfections, is enough. I grew less secure and more quiet. I am a perfectionist and every little mistake can feel like the biggest failure, which has always fed into my self doubt. I make excuses and set the bar low with others so they do not expect too much from me in return just in case I fail. It becomes my own cavait of “sure I will try it, but I don’t know how so don’t be surprised if I can’t do it.” It is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy; one which has given me a false sense of comfort.
I will always be a perfectionist to some degree. It can be a great asset that drives me to accomplish great things, but, if I continue to let it, it also can be the one thing that prevents me from having the courage to step outside my comfort zone and truly be happy. For me, chasing perfection is much like spontaneously sprouting wings to fly. It sounds cool, but as I am human, it doesn’t exist and leaves me constantly disappointed with myself and with life.
As I entered adulthood, I had those same dreams of fame and fortune. While my definition of fame and fortune has dramatically changed over time, the fears and self doubt have always been constant. They took over and started a vicious cycle of questioning everything about myself. My perfectionism took on new heights of control and I spent more and more time thinking about how to hide the fact that I wasn’t perfect. Obstacles became roadblocks and roadblocks became excuses. Then, sadly, excuses became my reality.
The worst part was that my reality was considered “successful” in the eyes of almost everyone around me. It fed into my belief that I had to continue to hide myself away because, if people found out I wasn’t “perfect,” then my success would all be taken away. I would be a sham. It felt like I wasn’t even allowing myself to be human and the weight of this was suffocating me. Every person who admired my accomplishments or skills unknowingly contributed to my self doubt and, ultimately, my self doubt turned into near hatred for myself. With every extra pedestal I was placed on, the fear of falling off of them grew scarier. As I began to hate myself, I internally blamed others and made more excuses, but the real problem was that I didn’t have enough courage or belief in myself to change it. What I saw in the mirror was not who I felt like on the inside and I feared those close to me would not accept me if I failed. I also began to feel guilty for feeling the way I did because, compared to others, my problems seemed small and insignificant.
Fast forward to many wasted years later and I am still working on myself by forcing myself to take steps outside of my comfort zone. What I have learned over the years is this:
- I define and earn my own success.
- What I believe to be successful is different from others and that is okay.
- Striving for progress is more productive, positive, and realistic than striving for perfection.
- Failure is only failure if you don’t learn and/or don’t get back up after a setback.
- What you want from your life and what makes you happy matters.
- If you are afraid of how those around you will accept you,you need to surround yourself with different people.
- We do not give those close to us enough credit (I have learned this in the last six months with all of the external support I have received in honor of making major life changes.)
- Lastly, as a society, we do not know how to give and receive feedback and constructive criticism. Anyone who has the courage to point out a mistake and then talk through how to make it better is not trying to make you feel bad. We need to learn to embrace this and keep making progress rather than being defensive.
My story and journey are not over. They are just beginning. I finally decided to stop spending so much energy on hiding my imperfections and stepped outside my comfort zone in a big way. While I still fear failure and I still find myself reverting to bad habits of making excuses, I am learning that I only fail if I don’t keep moving forward. I recently got the courage to sell my house, quit my full time job, pursue a pro wrestling passion I have had for decades, and take a chance on myself and those I choose to surround myself with to start ENDVR Wellness Co. I am deeply passionate about helping others and, at ENDVR, I have surrounded myself with people who share our mission of educating, spreading positivity, and building confidence to achieve a balanced lifestyle for all ages and body types regardless of their starting point . Remember, it is never too late to make changes. You may be pleasantly surprised how many people in your life are not only supportive, but admire you for your courage to put yourself out there. Remember, you will always have setbacks, but the key is to never give up.