The tendency to look around comparing and contrasting our lives, accomplishments, and troubles against someone else’s is not always easy to break. Those feelings of being on the outside looking in, of thinking other people seem to be having an easier time, of wondering whether we measure up, can be brutal. I get so many emails from people in pain; people who have a dream they don’t pursue because some voice inside doubts they could ever pull it off.
Fear and doubt are perfectly natural feelings, it’s what we do with them that determines whether we live our lives in alignment with what we know in our hearts will bring us peace, happiness, joy and meaning. Sometimes we’re so scared, we just toe the line, but life isn’t linear, there’s no quid pro quo. You can do everything “right”, and still, your life could be turned on its head on a random Wednesday morning, without warning. We’re here, and we don’t know how much time we’ve got, or what happens next. We’re here and we have the capacity to love each other, which makes us vulnerable. We’re here, and some of us are dealt one set of cards, some another. You’ve got, what? Somewhere between seventy and one hundred-and-eight years if you’re lucky. That’s not a lot of time, in the best-case scenario. How much of it are you going to allow to pass you by because you’re scared of being judged? Scared you’ll never meet your potential? Scared it will come and go before you can get it together?
Envy is a terrible feeling that suggests we are less than. When we’re envious, we’re also assuming a lot. Things may look easy from outside a person’s life, but everyone has pain, and everyone struggles. You may encounter someone who’s worked through a lot of their anguish, and has figured out how to live life in a way that feels good to them, but maybe if you’d met them five years ago, you’d have thought they were a mess, or maybe things look shiny and perfect from where you’re standing, but the reality is completely different. It really doesn’t matter. I mean, it would be great if we could all wish the best for each other; it’s not like someone else’s success diminishes your chances of realizing your dreams.
I suppose we ought to define our terms; to me, success is having people in your life who see you clearly and love you for who you are, people you can have entire conversations with through a glance alone, people you love with your whole heart. It’s also finding personal meaning and purpose, figuring out what it is that lights you up, and then pursuing it, because even the pursuit feels right, the journey itself is enough. On any given day, if the rug were pulled out from under you, you could say you loved with everything you had, you left nothing in the tank; I think if you have any or all of these things going on, you’re a success.
We’re slammed with messages all day, every day about what society defines as successful. Tons of money, a huge house, a really fast car, a “perfect body”– it’s all external stuff. The truth is, you’re either happy on the inside, or you are not. To me, tapping into that well of love within you, and sharing it wherever you go, makes for a happy and successful life, and if you’re coming from that place, you can celebrate other people’s good fortune, even if it looks like what you want for yourself. You can let other people inspire you to put yourself out there more, to shine your light even more brightly. You can let fear stop you, or you can let it inspire you. We’re all made of the same stuff, but no one else, not a single person, is just like you. Only you can offer your particular gifts, and you don’t have all the time in the world. You’re not going to look back on your life and think, “Mine was pretty good, but that guy over there really had an awesome time.” You won’t care anymore. You’ll only know if you gave everything you had, if you pursued your dreams, if you loved the people in your life the best way you could. You’re not going to be counting your pennies or thinking if only your corpse could have a six-pack. Don’t waste too much time. It’s precious, and so are you.
Sending you love,
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