I read a great post on the TheSeeds4Life blog, “Use What Talent You Possess” (November 7, 2015). It challenged us to “imagine a world where only the best in a certain area of interest were allowed to contribute.” The post went on to argue that we all really do have a right to add our voices to the mix, whatever the level of ability or polish.
The blog also talked about our tendency to compare our work to someone else’s best work, and how we often hold ourselves back out of fear of being judged as inferior. The author encourages us to stop worrying about impressing the world, and to try and impact it for the better instead.
When I pictured that world of limiting thoughts, my first reaction was how discouraging it sounded. Negative beliefs like those lead us to immediately discount ourselves. We’ll always see our own unique talents, perspectives and ideas as less important than others. And what are we left with then? Trying to copy whatever has been named “the best”, working hard to reach some external ideal.
My second reaction was to recognize these beliefs in my own heart. I’ve not only had them, but for many years lived by them. For most of my life, I had a push-pull inside me of wanting to both express and hide my true self. The desire to embrace who I am warred with the wish to be just like everyone else.
As a result, I felt an odd mix of shame and frustration.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me looking at the accomplishments of others as a source of inspiration, or a way to learn more about an area of interest. It’s when I expect myself to measure up to anyone else, especially if they are more skilled than I am, that I dismiss the special contribution I could make as I am right now.
I want to be free to create and offer my best to the world, whatever that is. Are you with me?