Don’t Ever Believe You Are Not Good Enough

There is a central flaw in our society. And no, it doesn’t have orange hair or a headline beginning with ‘allegation’ and ending with ‘fired,’ so shake your etch-a-sketch clear.

 

Because the flaw I have found is more pervasive.

 

And it’s nothing new. In fact, this flaw is the concept around which much of our ideologic infrastructure is built. And it’s a concept that we all have the responsibility to change: the concept of Nate.

 

Nate was a young boy in a class I taught. He was five when we met, ten when I left the teaching position. He had a fascination with cars and loved playing games on the white board. He could write in his workbook for hours, but could only ever grip the pencil in the palm of his hand, his letters often large and illegible. He was never very neat, even for a young boy, and would fall into anxious habits without even noticing. If he didn’t have a stress ball or toy in his hand, there would soon be blood dripping from his face. It’s not that he wanted to hurt himself, but his mind and body always had to work. When he was angry, he had little control. But when learned something new, he filled the room with enthusiasm. Those moments, however, were far and few between.

 

For every ten steps his classmates took, Nate had to take fifty. For every lesson his classmates learned, Nate learned one-eighth. Every day in the classroom, Nate fell behind. Grades were simply reminders of a fact he already knew. Academic games he could never win were simply public demonstrations of how hard it was for him to even try. The system around him, the system around which our society is built – with evaluations and standardized expectations and celebration only of success – simply served to point out his flaws.

 

Still, Nate kept showing up. He kept trying. He kept learning and filling the room with his enthusiasm. He always kept his body hunched over, his head someone down. But I never did get the idea that he was hiding or ashamed. Rather, Nate seemed to be focusing. He seemed to be tuning out the messages the world was feeding him and focusing simply on what he needed to do in that moment.

 

Unfortunately, the world didn’t let Nate grow up in his difference, medication calming him down until he could simply blend in.

 

Though Nate had a syndrome to face, we all, at one point or another, have been Nate. When receiving rejection. When being left out of the group. When being told we could have done better, and realizing that what we gave was truly our best.

 

We are all imperfect. And the world is built to put that imperfection right in our face. Job evaluations. School marks. Interpersonal schisms. The world shows us our challenges.

 

And face-to-face with our flaws, it is up to us to remember the one thing the world often forgets to share:

 

We can always do better. (And I mean that in the best of ways!)

 

If you score perfectly on an exam, great. But is your learning actually complete? If you and a friend celebrate a five-year friend-versary, fun! But does your relationship really have no room to grow?

 

The world we live in puts growth on a zero to one-hundred scale, with success being this attainable score at the top. And if you are anything less than perfect, the world is here to point that out, and remind you to do better, try harder, achieve more.  You could be as perfect as that other guy getting a 100 over there. Can you imagine that? 😉

 

And it’s really a great system – if we were all the same human being with the same mind and capabilities.

 

Of course, we aren’t. We are all some version of Nate. We are all some version of a caring, incredible person with unique challenges and strengths. We are all on our own zero to one-hundred scales. And we are all responsible for reminding those around us that their great leaps of progress or small steps of growth are equally incredible.

 

  • So your life is at a different stage than your neighbor’s? That’s okay.
  • So you’re excelling at a faster rate than your classmate? That’s fine.
  • So you could do better on an arbitrary scale? Yep. That’s true. You can always do better.

 

The world isn’t going to change overnight. Our minds aren’t simply going to rewire into the peace Nate found when blocking out the comparisons and judgments being made around him. He took years to build that skill. He still, often, forgot it.

 

But, in sharing his strengths, Nate taught me a mantra I will never forget, a mantra we all have the gift of sharing with those around us:

 

Don’t ever believe you are not good enough. 

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© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

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The 3 Things in Life that are Certain

Three things are certain in life:

  1. You will never have enough time to read that list of the 40 best ____ – what fills in the blank doesn’t matter. The list is still four times too long.
  2. Your earbuds will always become tangled in your pocket or purse or backpack.

And

  1. Your life will be a journey of discovery.

The focus of that discovery: Well, first off, the end of those tangled ear buds. But, more importantly, you. (You know, just something kind of completely fantastic.)

No matter where we are in life – our mid-life crises or our eighteenth birthdays; our Bar and Bat Mitzvahs or our twelfth Hillel Shabbat dinners – we are continuously blooming. Every person we meet, every experience we have, every sunset we witness becomes a part of us.

The conversation you had with a neighbor last night opens your mind to something more that you are. The journal entry you wrote last week touches a part of you that you hadn’t yet seen. The new flavor you tried at brunch widens your senses to a world and culture you can’t wait to know.

Every moment of presence is a moment of growth – if we allow it to be.

Which also means, at any moment, we are imperfect. We have yet to experience every aspect of life and we have yet to interact with every person who is to cross our paths. Rather, we are open, our hidden parts simply awaiting the right moment and encounter to emerge.

But what does this mean for today?

Everything.

Because, in accepting the journey, we open our minds to the possibility of each moment. And, we start to live our lives with three vital changes:

  1. We take no moment for granted.

If every moment and every interaction becomes a part of us and blesses us with growth, then, logically, every moment is of value. We have all heard the advice to ‘live in the moment,’ but it’s time we do more than just that. It’s time we appreciate the moment, no matter how small, and allow that moment to fill our hearts. Because that moment is now a part of us, it’s ability to help us grow only limited by our own resistance to change.

  1. We open ourselves to the world.

We grow from experience. Which means, if we avoid experience, we limit our own potential. So instead of accepting the comfort of a couch and Netflix show, or following the routine of taking the 5:10 bus and sitting in the window seat of row 12, let’s challenge ourselves. Go outside your comfort zone. Try something new. Welcome new friends and new experiences, and soon you will find, in each day, you discover a little more of the fantastic person that is you.

  1. We live and breathe authenticity.

Something magical happens when we realize we are forever growing: we start to let go. If we understand that we are never quite perfect, we can never fall short of what we think we ‘should’ be.  If we recognize that, in error we learn, we start to embrace those errors. In embracing the truth that our interactions with others can help others grow, too, we start to give ourselves more fully to the world. We can’t be perfect, but we can make a difference and welcome growth just by living each moment as our truest selves.

And, yes, if your truest self is still untangling those ear buds or working through number 26 on the list of 40 best books of 2017, you are, in that moment’s way, still experiencing growth.

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Congratulations. Another moment has passed, and you have beautifully grown!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

We are as powerful as…

We are as powerless as our weakest thought.

When we believe we can’t succeed. When we decide a task is too hard. When we put ourselves down for all the chaos around us.

We are much too good at this self-defeating spiral. We’re only human, after all.

And if we choose to let this spiral become us…

the world can seem dark, we can feel victim, and, much too easily, we lose touch with the reality that THESE BELIEFS SIMPLY ARE NOT TRUE!

What is true?

The beauty of the sunrise over the Charles River.

The gift of sharing a smile with a woman you just met.

YOUR POWER to let the world happen around you, and YOUR WISDOM to react in a way that builds from your inner strength.

Sure, there is a lot in this world that lies beyond our control. There is a lot in this world that could bring us to tears or envy, heartbreak or annoyance. AND, just the same, there is a lot in this world that can bring us back to ourselves.

In frustration, we have the power to imagine the most beautiful possibilities. In sorrow, we have the power to dream the most inspiring of dreams. In each day of our lives, we have the power to look out to others with curiosity, admiration, appreciation, and gratitude, and to reflect on this world and the chaos in it as opportunity. Imagine, if we are our truest selves, what inspiring change our lives can bring!

What if I told you, YOU ARE INCREDIBLE JUST BEING YOU?

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© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

It’s Easy To Forget: You ARE Strong

You are stronger than you even know.

But when facing an obstacle, it’s easy to forget the strength we have. It’s easy to get lost in the discomfort of our obstacles, and to lose track of the accomplishments we have achieved. There are so many!  It’s easy to look at others who can do what we can’t and to think, ‘Maybe this isn’t where I’m meant to be.’ It’s easy to think of our failure as definite.

 

And the last thing we want to hear during hard times is the truth: that we can overcome. The last thing we want to know is that our struggles, our challenges, our months of sleepless nights will be just a fading memory, and that our failures are simply opportunity.

 

The last thing we want to believe is that, in this unpredictable life, there is direction. There is a plan.

 

Whether we believe that we control the plan or that a higher power guides our paths, there is structure to the chaos. And there is meaning in the struggle.

 

  • If we fail and choose to redirect our lives, there is a plan: to learn, to try, and to explore new options.
  • If we fail and keep trying, there, too, is a plan: to stay on the current track.
  • If one day, we wake up and realize that we are at peace, well then, for now, this is where we are meant to be.

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But how do we wade through the struggles to find the right path?

How do we choose to keep trying?

 

With three simple ingredients:

  1. Patience

The first time we try and fail, we may feel frustration. We may feel uneasy. We may want to get up, walk away, and reach for something we know can bring us success. We may, for a moment, want to stop trying.

 

We may lose our patience.

 

But your physician didn’t learn the anatomy of the human body in a single study session. Your contractor didn’t learn to frame a house in one hot afternoon. You didn’t learn to walk in a single jump to your feet.

 

Very few accomplishments in life come naturally. Certainly, the most rewarding accomplishments did not. In fact, we are a strange species, gaining the greatest reward from overcoming the hardest of obstacles.

 

And with patience, with time, with trying and trying and trying again, you may just find that you do have the strength and skill to overcome this obstacle you now face.

 

  1. Self-compassion

Oh, but the hardest challenge during a difficult time is to stay positive. And, more specifically, to stay positive about ourselves! We look to the person next to us and see that he is succeeding in half the time. We look to our self-prescribed expectations and wonder why we are falling short. We look to our momentary failures to define us.

 

And we have to stop!

 

Because our failures are temporary. And we are MOST DEFINITELY not our failures. We are the strength of trying again. We are the courage of still showing up. We are the compassion of accepting our current experiences and the bravery of asking for help.

 

If we imagine anyone else in our situation, we probably wouldn’t think any less of them. A child with dyslexia struggles to read; and, with nurturance and support, he doesn’t give up. An athlete with a fractured wrist struggles to return to the field, and with determination and courage (and six weeks of healing!), she puts herself back in the game.

 

Our situations are no different than that of the child or athlete. Our challenges are no cause for shame or self-ridicule. We may take more time. We may need some help. And we may find that our challenges and our determination to overcome are reason for even greater nurturance of ourselves and even prouder celebration of who we are and who we can become.

 

  1. Mindfulness

Most importantly, though, in the midst of a challenge, we have to remember to live one moment at a time.

 

And this can be so hard!

 

When we can’t accomplish task number one, we start to look ahead at tasks two, three, twenty-five, and we wonder how we will ever build up to that level. We consider the whole of our to-do lists and the demand of just this one obstacle, and we question whether we can handle everything that is on our plates.

 

We forget that, in this moment, we don’t have to handle everything on our plates.

 

Right now, all we have to do is this one thing before us. There is no moment ahead. There is nothing to carry forward from the moment past. Sure, eventually, another moment will come, and so will another item on our list of responsibilities. However, that next moment is no more important than the present. The past has no place intruding on today.

 

And the more we let the past and the future interfere, the less of the present we experience. That is simply not fair!

 

And it’s counterproductive. Because in a state of mindfulness, in a place of full attention to and appreciation of the present, we are at our strongest. We are investing the whole of our energy into this moment, and leaving the worry of the future and the pain of the past at the wayside.

 

With a mindful spirit, a patient demeanor, and an outlook of self-compassion, we are gifting ourselves the greatest opportunity of all: the potential for growth. And that growth is truly a sign of great strength.

 

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.