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. 

good enough.png

 

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

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30 Simple Somethings That Matter Most in Life

Only the perfect among us have lived a life without worry. Good news for the rest of us – I haven’t met anyone claiming perfection. What I have met, though, are beautiful dreamers – dozens of them. I’ve met men and women and children experiencing pain and searching for joy. I’ve met families who have faced such hardship you would be at a loss for where to find hope, and I have seen them still radiate with joy. I have seen marvelous individuals come to face obstacles. I have faced obstacles. And I have seen these same people choose to sit back, reflect, and regain the strength to move forward.

 

Yet I know, in the midst of a struggle, it’s hard to find hope. I understand, when everything seems so overwhelming and the future so uncertain, it’s hard to carry enough faith to move forward. It’s hard to see past the now, to feel past the worry.

past worry.png

It’s hard to experience the little moments that matter.

 

But the thing is, in ten, fifteen, fifty years, what is going to matter more: the fear that captured your breath or the future that swept you away? I’m guessing the latter. In fact, take that back. I know it’s the latter! When you look back on your life, and flip through your memories, what is going to matter most is not how much anxiety you felt before that next interview or how much sorrow you carried with the loss of a friend. No way!

 

What will matter – what does matter – are the choices you made, and the incredible possibilities your choices create. What you will remember are the simple somethings that made each moment of each day an authentic touch more complete.

 

In fifty years, my friend, what will matter most are these thirty moments:

 

  1. The day you decided to move out of your comfort zone. You made a pro/con list. You asked a dozen people you knew. And you ignored all the data – didn’t even tally the votes – and just went for it.
  2. The moment you decided to stay there – outside your comfort zone. And live there. Even when things got hard.
  3. Every morning you woke up in time to see the sun rise – the colors of angels lighting up the sky. And especially those mornings when you decided to stop. When you did nothing but breathe in and simply stare.
  4. Each afternoon when you chose to walk home. When you smiled at strangers and made friends with the dogs.
  5. That one cab ride when you climbed in the backseat of a Honda, smiled to the driver, and decided to ask much more than ‘how long have you driven for uber?’
  6. That conversation when someone asked, “How are you doing?” and you answered, instead, as though you had just said, ‘I’m fine,’ and, in exchange, she pushed, “No really, how are you?”
  7. The time you laughed without holding your smile together. You were just happy. Your emotion was pure.
  8. The moments you smiled for no reason at all. It was truly incredible how the smile filled you, filled the room, filled the world with such joy.
  9. Those dozens of moments when you realized you were happy. So you didn’t say anything. You didn’t fear anything.
  10. The dozens more moments when you felt truly proud. I can still see how high your graceful shoulders were rising.
  11. The night you undressed just to sing in the shower. Joy finally made sense, and lifted your heart.
  12. When you jumped in a crowd and spoke without thinking. Sarcasm flew through your tone, spontaneity brought you to life.
  13. That feeling of a pen and a paper and words falling to a page. That feeling of having something to share.
  14. The morning you awoke and smiled in the mirror. You didn’t need a reason more than the reflection being you.
  15. Summer days when the sun glazed your back with its warmth, as you walked through the city, a friend at your side.
  16. That squeeze of his arms around your back. The beautiful tension of you hugging back.
  17. Being a deer in the headlights, a novice at life. But still trying, and stumbling. And having a moment when things again made some sense.
  18. Watching a child’s eyes overflow with pure light. Being part of the magic of that child growing self-love.
  19. Deciding to be responsible for a woman in pain, so you steadied your focus and restored her to a smile.
  20. Sitting in a dark room, surrounded by people, you felt so alone, so you chose to say, ‘Hi.’
  21. Sitting in a loud room, you saw a girl all alone, so you walked past the others, and reached out to say, ‘Hi.’
  22. The day you recognized your weakness, and you didn’t ignore it. You didn’t deny it. You didn’t even reach for it. Instead, you asked why.
  23. Making the choice to come out from hiding. With one word, one action, one click of the mouse, your voice suddenly became an authentic agent of change.
  24. The first time someone complemented you, and you chose to say thank you. It was simple and still just oh so very hard.
  25. That conversation you had where you did nothing but listen. You smiled, you nodded, and you were purely there for a friend.
  26. The evening you two sat on a park bench. You waded through sprinklers, watched cyclists in tutus, and laughed all the way through Pharrell William’s “Happy Song.”
  27. The moment you fell in love with your body. You forgot from time to time, but you always returned home to yourself.
  28. The day you just couldn’t breathe, looking at how much time had passed. Guess what? You’re still reading this. You still chose a breath.
  29. The tears you shed for a loss, and the choice to sit in the pain. Yes, it was hard. And for that, you grew.
  30. The butterflies you felt for the uncertain future, and the choice to live now with the energy of pure faith.

 

If you stop and just remember, in a series of moments, your life hasn’t been perfect. And it’s sure far from over. But, my friend, your life’s beautiful

It’s everything perfection never could bring.

 

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

Dance With The Wind

 

Listen, wind makes a photo look better.  It just does.

wind

Sure, until I can change the weather, I won’t have a windless comparison photo to offer.  But, in my mind, there would be no comparison worth making.  The wind wins out.  Every time.

How do I know?

Because it’s nature.  And I don’t know about you, but I’m going to opt out of a fight with nature.

You see, there was a time when the wind caused me more pain than you could imagine.  Picture your leg being stabbed by burning knives on fire (the redundancy intended).  Now imagine those knives coming at you at, say, 20 miles per hour.  It really isn’t all that pleasant.  And actually, it led me to fear the wind.

Yes.  You heard that right: I was afraid of the wind. 

When it came my direction, I would cringe with terror.  When it touched my flesh, I would freeze with worry: Is it going to hurt this time?  I don’t want it to hurt.  Please don’t hurt.

Even in remission, I was conditioned to worry.  I was conditioned to avoid the elements in anticipation of the slightest breeze, and to stay behind barriers, out of the direct line of impact.

And then, it hit me – the wind, not some great insight or anything.  And it was beautiful!  Refreshing in its cool touch, pleasant in its muted howl.  The wind was painlessly beautiful.

So I’m not saying you should go around chasing the wind – it’s a part of nature, out of your control.  But I am saying, if the wind graces you with her presence, especially in a photo, embrace it as nature’s gift!  Join it in nature’s dance!  Because the wind knows three things that, in fear, in life, and even in photographs, we often forget:

  1. Dance and swirl and throw leaves in your journey,

because the wind doesn’t know where it’s headed.  It’s just headed.  Through cities and forests, oceans and people, it’s headed.  What the wind does have is this moment of contact with you and the leaf and the obstacle before it, and it will do whatever it can to take from that interaction and move forward, no interaction ever too small to enjoy.

  1. Make a mess of perfection, and leave it be,

just like the wind tosses your thin strands of hair from left to right.  Just like the wind unsorts your pile of organized papers from the picnic table.  Remember, the wind is nature, and nature is saying, let imperfection be.

  1. Ah, and the laughter in her howl,

as she skips past your ear in her race through the park, and then rushes back just as you pull the hair from across your lips.  That’s wind, playing.  That’s wind having fun, doing everything she can to make sure you, too, remember how to playfully trot.  Because, guess what?  She’s daring you not to laugh!  And that’s a dare I promise never to win!

So what do you say?  Shy of throwing papers around the park,

will you dance with the wind?

© 2016 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.