Enough

One of the hardest things I grapple with is convincing myself that I do, that I am, enough.

There’s this incessant feeling ruminating in the background, this self-appraisal that often goes too far and bleeds into self-deprecation, that I should be doing more. That I should be further along. That I should be more than or less- confident, positive, secure, forgiving, responsible, kind, patient, loving, tolerant, trusting, insecure, critical, emotional, selfish, doubtful, resentful- than what I currently am.

I tell myself stories. Internal dialog that only I can hear, accept, or protest. These stories that I tell myself are scare tactics and a desperate preventative measure that a younger, more scared Sarah developed to protect herself. I spent more than a decade constructing a safe room that I could go and hide in when I was feeling exposed, challenged, or generally uncomfortable with the world around me. When things got too real for me, I would tell myself a story- I can’t, I’m broken, I’ll never get past this, I’ll never be better, I’ll never learn how- and go hide in that safe room.

The part of me that plays this tape of self-sabotage, the part of me that lets fear run rampant in the driver’s seat, it’s a diversion from the truth, from my truth. It no longer serves me. It is no longer helpful. It’s not even true. But expunging it? Removing it from my daily behavior and go-to when I feel scared or unsure? Now that’s the real trick. That’s where the growth lies.

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There’s a book I read that is filled with daily meditations.

“When you have to make a decision or take a certain action, all that you can do is to do the best you know at that time, and if you do that you will have done your duty.” it said.

At the time I was developing my internal dialog about being broken and hopeless, the best I could do was adopt these protective mechanisms. Now I have been gifted with the opportunity to do something different, to do my best in this time I now stand in. I have been shown there is another way. A different way. A new path that I must explore.

Lean in. Don’t balk at the fear. Embrace the discomfort. Have faith.

The best part? Miracles of triumph and progress keep popping up like wild flowers in a field full of blooms. I see my life changing. I see myself questioning these stories I have always told myself. Where did they come from? Are they even true?

What is my truth?

My truth is that I am continuing to work. I am continuing to fall short. I am continuing to try new strategies and when one thing doesn’t work, I try something new. Again and again. I’m stretching. I am at my growing edge. I give it everything I’ve got. Many days, that is not enough in my book. But my truth is that it has to be enough. It must be enough to give as much as I possibly can every single day, investing in myself like a retirement fund. What it feels like is a lot of never-ending discomfort.

My North Star is hope. It’s deeper relationships. It’s giving more of myself. It’s living a life based on principle and ideals and connection. It’s never giving up on trying to fulfill the purpose that God has set for me.

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If I keep looking at where I am falling short, I will miss all of the wins that I am accomplishing along the way. Some of the wins are so big I can’t even believe that this is my life. These wins are crucial. They help to temper the losses and the grief and highlight the silver linings that are present in every experience.

There’s incredible power in fighting like hell, not letting challenges tank you, and instead inviting them to sharpen you and soften you into a stronger, more resilient, more dedicated, and more effective person. You’ll find after that you are capable of giving more of yourself than you thought was possible and realize you have been filling your tank of self-love along the way. All on your own.

All the doubt and the fear and worry show you that you will continue to learn and fail and overcome and blossom.

And so we grow.

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I hope you never give up on following your North Star. 

xoxo

Sarah

Fearless

Let’s talk about fear.

Fear cheers you on as you remain stagnant. It keeps you complacent. It bars you from achieving everything you are capable of. It keeps you hiding in the shadows and cowering away from your incredible potential. It coaxes you into compromising who you are, telling you that you aren’t good enough and that failure is certain. Fear speaks only to your vulnerabilities and never to your strengths.

Fear keeps us glued firmly to where we are rather than pushing us towards where we should be. It keeps us small. It allows us to accept ourselves as average rather than exceptional. It stunts us and encourages us to compromise.

When faced with the possibility of change, fear highlights danger rather than opportunity. It tricks us into thinking that the risk isn’t worth the potential payoff. It deceives us. It tells us that we will never be able to do the things that we wish that we could do. It tells us that our biggest dreams are too big and too far out of our reach.

Fear is smart. It knows just what to say to get us stop dead in our tracks. It speaks to our insecurities. It’s a constant companion and it rages battle within us, pitted up against hope and self-love.

Fear makes us average. It convinces us that what we have is enough but tells us that we ourselves are not enough. It soothes our discontent and quiets our ambition. It assures us that we have enough time and that tomorrow or the next day everything will be better; that if we just hang tough things will change.

Fear makes us judgmental. It breeds resentment and jealousy. It makes us prideful and full of ego and empowers us with an intense need to overcompensate. It allows us to become less of what we are and more of what others think we should be. It makes us feel we have something to prove.

Now, let’s talk about change.

What if we were to cast away fear? What if we imagined our lives where our decisions were not curbed by the possibility of rejection, loss or failure? What if we allowed ourselves to explore who we could be if this excuse or that excuse simply ceased to exist?

What a world that would be. What a life that would be.

Someone much wiser than me once said that you can’t be in fear and faith at the same time. We only get so much time, time which slips away faster and faster each year, time during which we must discover who we are, participate in our lives, and determine the nature of the mark we will leave.

The opportunity to be great is always available to us. It is simply a matter of having enough faith in ourselves to try.

We have the ability to make the choice to change our lives. Not only can we change our own lives, we have the power to change the lives of others. We can make today the day; make today the day that we check our fears and start to fight for everything that lies on the other side of them.

We have the ability to say to fear: I see you and I will not let you stop me. We can be everything we have always wanted to be, if only we can come up with the courage to try.

Dedicated to all of my fearless warriors who inspire me each day to let go of the fear.

xoxo

Sarah

Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry pancakes make me happy. Blueberry pancakes from Denny’s at midnight make me even happier. There is something magical about them. Creamy butter and sticky, sweet, syrup perfectly complementing the easy conversation being traded lightly across the table. Conversation is always easy over blueberry pancakes. You find yourself divulging some of your innermost fears over those simple disks made of flour, sugar, and fruit; the words slipping off your tongue as easily as the description of your favorite color.

Blueberry pancakes remind you of the happy times. They are an enjoyable kind of easy, like waking up early on a hot summertime morning. They are not pretentious like crepes, or heavy like French toast. They are perfect for good moods, or the perfect remedy for sad ones.

As time goes on, the responsibilities multiply and life inevitably becomes more complicated because you have more to care about. More to lose. It is important to have things like blueberry pancakes, simple pleasures that bring you happiness just in being themselves and nothing more. The small things that allow you to be present and fully appreciate the exact moment you are experiencing, drinking it in like a deep breath of cool ocean air. That moment, in its entirety, is enough. When time disappears and nothing matters except for the person sitting across from you and the perfectly made breakfast in front of you, where bedtimes are a thing to be brushed off like an annoying Nat buzzing in your ear.

Nothing invites trepidation into my soul like the fear of mediocrity. This is a dangerous fear to have, because then it becomes possible to become addicted to chaos. Appreciating the small pleasures, like breakfast at midnight, makes the commonplace seem desirable and startlingly fleeting. You have to hold on to those moments while simultaneously trying not to grasp at them too desperately, for it is that desperation which will make them disappear all the more quickly.

A point of growth comes when in realizing that these small moments of simple yet complete joy are not mediocre ones. Your existence is not merely a serious of unremarkable moments strung together, sprinkled with bright snapshots of happiness or tragedy. Life has a purpose. The small moments can turn out to be everything; they build strength, appreciation, and depth of character. These moments, the blueberry pancake moments, are when you realize that this right here is why life is worth sticking around for.

A handful of months and a few thousand dreams ago, I didn’t even know I loved blueberry pancakes. I had never sought them out, nor had I given them a second thought when browsing the breakfast menu selections. Then, one day, this ordinary breakfast item had transformed. It was now unique and special and just a little bit mine. That is how all miracles in life happen. Suddenly. Magically. Without warning. Then, your life is irreversibly altered. The trick is being patient enough to hang on, to wait for the miracles to happen.

The Point of Growth

The point of learning, of growing, of achieving, of self-improvement, is not to puff ourselves up. The point isn’t to inflate our egos or to spout off about the self-actualization we have attained, or to throw it around disguised as self-importance and arrogance. The point is to give it away.

For it is not by breaking down others that we build ourselves up, and it is not by shouting out to the world our need for attention that we gain recognition. Instead, we work tirelessly. We work tirelessly to be a better friend, a better employee, a better shoulder to lean on, a better partner, a better human. Lead by example it is said. This is difficult, because often on your long spiritual journey up the proverbial mountain it is impossible to see your own progress. With your pack weighing you down, your body sagging from exhaustion, and with sweat dripping off of your forehead blocking your view, you can’t see if you are any nearer to the top. Step by step you struggle forward, pressing on with no idea if and when you will ever reach it. If you will ever get there. 

The truth is, there is no THERE.   There is no when or someday either, only now. So how can we make now enough? For when you are in the middle of your climb you cannot see the crowd of supporters at the summit, cheering you on. You have no idea how your progress, and struggle, is inspiring those that are watching you. One foot in front of the other. That is how we do it. That is how we make now into enough.

We make now into enough by realizing that we don’t need the perfect anything to be happy, we just need to be growing. We stimulate growth by challenging ourselves; by getting out of our comfort zone and saying yes to every new opportunity. Thus, the importance does not lie in reaching the top of the mountain. It lies in your path to getting there.

The World will never be in short supply of people who will try to tell you, loudly, how to live your life. What you should do, how you should act, and who you should be. It’s crap. All of it. What you should do, how you should act, and who you should be, is entirely up to you. Write your own script. The only person you need to measure yourself up against is the person you were yesterday.

So keep it up. Keep up the journey, keep up the struggle, keep up the discomfort. Enjoy the good moments the best that you can, for small triumphs lead to large successes. One tiny step forward is much further than no steps at all.

Xoxo
Sarah