You Are Enough.

April 20, 2015
There are many instances in life where one can feel like they’re not enough. It can happen anywhere, and with anyone. It can be when someone races past you on the track, or when you don’t get accepted into the program of your dreams. From your peers at school, to your co-workers, anyone can serve as your source of comparison, which can either leave you energized and motivated to take on a new task, or left reeling after becoming aware that you aren’t as good as that other person.

We all have our unique talents. Whether it’s being able to reach your nose with your tongue, or reaching the finish line way before everyone else, it is still that something that sets you apart from the others. That special something that may have given you a knack for being the life of every party, or a knack for getting yourself out of tricky situations. A talent that helps you stand a little taller, and smile a little wider, when you’ve had a rough day. A talent which you quickly forget, as soon as one of those instances occurs.

Whether it’s been on the field, in school or while flipping through a magazine, there has been a time when I had seen someone do something incredible, who looked really pretty, or who easily got the grade that I was fighting to achieve, and thought, “Why can’t I be her?” Usually, it’s just a fleeting thought and with a flick of my wrist I can easily sweep the question out of my mind before it can actually do some damage. Every once and a while, there is that one seed of doubt which –much to my dismay--succeeds in embedding itself and occupying all of my thoughts.

The truth is, that I have yet to master the ability to run very fast for long periods of time, but I have endurance that can last me for days, and during game time I can sprint as fast anyone else. In retrospect, 2 out of 3 is fantastic, but I’d had the feeling of watching others rush past me, instead of speeding along with them. Instead of focusing on my technique, I spent half my energy wondering if my teammates were laughing at me and the other half feeling humiliated for coming in dead last. I could not see past this moment, towards all my skills that allow me to excel and gotten me my spot on the rugby team. Ultimately, my split  focus caused me to mess up there as well, further continuing the cycle.

I didn’t have an epiphany. I wasn’t struck by a well-aimed bolt of lightning, inspiring me to make a change. Instead, I was hit with two well-timed bolts of pure frustration. The first one hit during Taekwondo, when I had messed up the routine that I had just done perfectly a little less than five minutes ago. The second came the next day, in the middle of a scrimmage as I watched the lemon-shaped ball bobble right past me, instead of snatching it and taking off down the field. Both times I was consumed by my own inner monologue of negativity, and both times I had a coach mention that I should get my head in the game.

As practice wore on, I watched as some of the girls who overtook me on the track, struggled to do properly grasp the techniques that came so naturally to me. And it was as I finished my brief lesson that it all clicked. The sluggishness wasn’t only a result of my incapability to keep up, but a by-product of all this self-comparison. I got so lost wanting to try and be as good as my teammates, that I forgot that I actually am a part of the team. When we win, it’s as a team, and when we lose, it’s as a team. We all have our own roles that are suited to all of our strengths and weaknesses, and all that we can do is give it our all.

It’s easy and human to get caught up in what others do well, but it’s important to not forget that we have little gems of talent too. Maybe that same person who you look at with such admiration, is thinking the same thing about in the area that you excel at. In the end, we should look at one another’s gifts and receive a small spark of motivation, and not be overcome with a sinking feeling. We should share and feed off one another’s successes, and take pride in the fact that we are enough, we are great at what we do and smile, with the thought of being able to inspire others as well.

The Many Faces of Fear

April 06, 2015

Fear is a very multi-faceted thing. Regardless of age, fear only serves two purposes with the first one being to paralyze us and to stop us from evolving and becoming everything we are made to be.

What am I afraid of? When I was younger, it was of unseen creatures that went bump in the night. Fear was that cold feeling that kept you awake and that could only be cured with a kiss Goodnight. Now, it’s of tangible things and feelings that can happen to anyone. It often arrives disguised as butterflies in my stomach as an important day approaches. Fear no longer takes the form of the Bogeyman or the Chupacabra, and it is not written in books, whose pages are stained brown with time, and are heavy with the stories of ancient myths and legends. It is an emotion stirred up by the slightest mention of a solo presentation, or upon being called on to answer a question in class. Fear is no longer about what some mythical creature can do to you, but what you might end up doing to yourself.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” -Marianne Williamson

I’ve had this quote on my wall for many years, and it’s only recently that I have come to understand what it truly means. For years, those words have hung over my bed, with the words imprinting themselves deeper in my mind every time I step foot in my room, every time I wake up and every time I lay down to sleep. Like an itch you can’t scratch, the words have continued to resonate within me until I could finally understand their meaning. I suppose it’s the sort of question, whose answer is earned when you reach a specific age or a certain stage in your life, because I’ve come to realize that it is that same fear that stops me from sometimes saying what needs to be said. It is that same kind of fear, which used to stop me from writing what and how I wanted to write. Yet, it is the same fear that has taught me to live boldly, laugh freely and love completely.

In other words, fear’s other purpose is to push us forward, unlock hidden skills and to show us how to wield our new found talents with a bit more grace and agility. As a whole, it serves to help us rise to the occasion or to crush us under the weight of it all. Like the straw that breaks the camel’s back, I thought that my fear of heights would be what would prohibit me from truly living my life. Yet, it has been the one thing that has shown me how much strength I truly have. In the twenty seconds of courage that it took me to step off of that zip-lining platform, I learned more about myself and about life than I ever had before. Sometimes the smallest in the right direction is all that you need to take your life in a whole new direction. It may feel scary and it may seem like the hardest thing at the time, but every other one after that will feel like you are gliding.

~Alexandra :)

How does fear affect you?