I’ve always struggled to be my best. I think we all do. We’ve been told to push ourselves past limits and be surprised at all we can be and do.
This isn’t untrue – I have pushed myself, and been pleasantly surprised at the results. There’s an ever growing definition in each of us of what it means to be our best self, and it grows as we do. Those huge goals that somehow creep up on us and become things we’ve done instead of things we want to do, the ideas cheering in the sidelines that become part of our endeavours. It’s all great stuff.
But no one talks about how terrifying it is, so let me start.
Every single day I am gutted by the thought that these are my “peak years” and that I’m not fulfilling my potential, or stunted by the thought that it can never be better – that it won’t be. When I feel proud that I’ve been meeting my gym goals or that I can see the little sprouts of my dreams growing it’s closely followed by the realization that I may never experience this feeling again, that I will never be able to be proud of myself for these things again because this is the best I (they) can be.
So it’s with this unhealthy obsession of this fear to keep improving myself that I can make myself continue to learn and grow. I get good things out of what I am doing; putting in the gym time, the writing time, the effort in relationships, expanding my knowledge on hobbies – these all have direct benefits. But often times the joy in doing them dissipates when I’m pushing myself to be better at them so that I don’t plateau within them.
And that’s not a great feeling.
And it’s not great that I feel like if I lost this fear, I would also loose this motivation. If you want to know the blunt, honest truth there are a lot of materialistic, shallow things that I am absolutely terrified about; that I know logically do not matter or define me, but that impact why I am doing all of these things, which in turn makes a difference in how these things are good for me or improving me.
I’m afraid to gain weight, to feel embarrassed about my home, that my debit card will be declined, that I’ll fall under a mountain of debt, that I won’t be able to find myself after a relationship, that I’ll never see the world, that I’ll be mediocre.
Some of these things may seem totally reasonable, and others may seem like products of societies constructed standards. Some may seem totally hypocritical. I don’t know. I don’t know how any of this seems to the outside eye which is another thing that is paralyzing – that I’m afraid to say all of these things, to be these things, to try and move forward from them and let them go because the validation I get from others is more important to me than what I can give to myself. And maybe that’s because I don’t value my opinion as much as I should, or maybe because I am opening up to the idea that I’m blind to a lot of things I am; flaws and successes.
Yes, I do want to have flawless skin and tight abs and be able to show of a pinterest worthy home. I want to be able to save my money and know logically I don’t need to spend 50$ at the dollar store, and I want to be able to go out with my friends and enjoy myself without stressing about the things I’m giving up by spending a few bucks on some drinks. I want to spend the rest of my life with the partner I have right now and live happily ever after. I would love to be able to write a novel only because I feel a fire burning inside of me to put these words and ideas into form that isn’t followed by the desire to gain fortune from it as well; that if I knew I would fail then too much of the point of doing it would be lost.
As it is, fear is my biggest motivator. Staying in a place I’m uncomfortable because I’m afraid as being seen as weak for not knowing how to be comfortable in discomfort. Going to the gym 4 times a week because I’m afraid that if I don’t my body will be as big as my sugar cravings. The list goes on.
And I’m sick of scrutinizing myself and letting myself fall victim to the idea that I’m wasting some precious years of my life, not working as hard as I can or should be to attain certain things. I’m really fucking over letting fear in all it’s forms control my decisions – not just the fear of the unknown, or of change. But also of knowing, and mostly of staying the same.