I tried to write this 2 months ago and the whole place damn near burned down! A part of me felt almost relieved cos that would mean I could just say “oh, I failed… Yeah I used to own a bar but it’s no more.” And I could gently rest the parts of me that I thought had failed amidst the rubble and say “Well at least I gave it a shot.”
But that hasn’t happened (yet… touch the deep dark woods). Against all odds I am still here BELIEVING IN MYSELF and for some reason that feels HARD TO BELIEVE.
Why is my success so hard to believe? And what is success anyway?
Lessons in mental health and happiness are disturbingly abundant in our contemporary world. We are plagued everywhere, via our social media accounts, yoga instructors, helpful friends; plagued with positive messages. But behind them, many of us still struggle.
I wish this journey hadn’t taken me so long to begin. I wish I could forgive myself for it taking so long to begin. I think it actually began years ago but I didn’t know how to see it.
I feel like a big grey cloud has lifted off me. I feel like one day I turned around and looked at myself and said “you got this. You’ve been walking with this big grey cloud on you, disguising you from you but now it’s gone and you have got this.”
We are taught to doubt ourselves, often. It is learned behaviour that trains some of us to believe that “successful” people are stronger than us, and due to them being strong and successful somehow we are worth less. This same world tells us that there aren’t enough resources to make everyone “successful” so we should step back and let the strong ones take it all. We live in a world that favours physical strength, material wealth, masculine values, meanness, hot-headedness, the bold. We live in a rat-race. It doesn’t have to be this way. Maybe these things just aren’t you and that’s fine. I’m here fighting for all the things that are the opposite of those things, and I’m here saying you can be successful and be none of those things.
EDIT: I’m not saying self-belief is an instant road to success, but we live in a world that rewards certain values over others; we live in a world of inequality. I’d like to see change and I don’t just mean in a classic “rags to riches” way I mean let’s redefine all the values we live by and let’s really look at who’s “on top” and why.
Preachy stuff: for self-proclaimed “failures” like me who also secretly wanna succeed
Define your own success. Wear your failures proudly. Defend your choices to the bitter end.
If you could build a world that favours your values (what are they? if you don’t know, now’s the time to work them out) if you could act upon those values every day and make your choices based on those…. what would you be doing right now?
Given that what you are doing still needs to exist in the now, it needs to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound). What would you do?
Go and do your thing. And if you can’t do it in big ways, do it in micro amounts until you can do more.
But don’t forget to include in your values and somewhere in your actions these qualities: Kindness. Softness. Forgiveness. Slowness. Fuck-ups. Faults and flaws. Stretch-marks. Dirty fingernails. Messy hair. Do not hide those fucking beautiful deep dark weird parts of you that fit nowhere else.
One day I want you also to look at yourself and say: it’s your time to shine, weirdo.