One of my big dreams is to take a sailing cruise; to idle into ports unknown, disembark and explore everything, the people, the food, the scenery. I want to man the sails and sleep under the never-ending expanse of star-studded sky as the ocean sings it’s dark and mysterious lullaby. I’ve never done this before, so it’ll probably be a little scary, but it might also be so amazing, I won’t notice. I’ll find out when I get there.
The funny thing is, we learn about who we are on a “need to know” basis. We might think we know who we are, but actually we are always changing.
The unfolding of one’s soul is a tricky process. On the one hand, we want to grow and change. On the other, we have to honor who we are and where we are in our lives right now. Every day, we walk that fine line between acceptance and sailing forward into a newer, greater version of ourselves.
As adults, we sometimes fail to recognize that, like children, we are still learning and growing; not because we aren’t complete, but because we are dynamic, evolving beings discovering our greatest potential. We never think that children are incomplete or not enough because they haven’t yet mastered tying their shoes. We appreciate both who they are AND who they are becoming. We don’t expect them to be “perfect” – whatever that means. We only expect that they will grow and learn and change as they get bigger.
But we don’t always give our adult selves that same leeway. Instead, we adults toss around things like, “grow up, get your act together, such a loser, when will you ever learn?” If we listen to these messages, we begin to question our lives, our choices and what we’ve accomplished so far. No matter how much we do, we still suffer this deep, dark question gnawing at our hearts, “when will I ever be enough?”
Striving is what we’re up to when we are trying to prove we’re enough (in any capacity). We strive to do more, have more, be more because we believe inherently that we are NOT enough. We feel a strong need for approval and affirmation. Everything we do is an attempt to fill that need. The fear of failure and rejection looms over us always, because our own sense of value is tied like a buoy to what we accomplish and how we look doing it. We place the criteria for our acceptance “out there” in the hands of others who all have a different opinion of right and wrong. How could we ever know if we are okay or enough? We bounce around, confused and frustrated, exhausted from “trying to get it right.”
But arriving is something that happens when you finally see your life as an evolving process and you agree to meet yourself along the way. You stop looking toward others to find out who you “should” be. You take on new challenges and growth opportunities as a way of allowing yourself to unfold, like an ocean wave swelling and rolling into shore, magnificent from beginning to end. It’s important to remind ourselves that we are always becoming or “coming into being.” We are always arriving on a new scene, finding ourselves in the midst of a new experience, and in that moment discovering more about who we are. No one else on Earth can reveal this to us. Only we can determine our true value. That truth comes to us in those tiny thrilling moments when we see ourselves clearly enough.
Arriving carries with it a sense of openness and discovery for what lies ahead; it makes life more of an adventure. Striving, on the other hand, generally involves expectations of a specific outcome, which can (and usually does) lead to disappointment. I encourage you to recognize, understand and know the difference between striving and arriving. We grow up in a culture of striving, but we can adjust our sails toward arriving in an instant – it is just an approach, one that produces a much greater sense of contentment, confidence and happiness in life.
I honestly don’t know all that I am capable of; I’m kind of finding out as I go. But what I do know is that I am enough and wherever I go and whatever I choose to do will be “in addition to,” not a completion of who I am.
From the day you were born, you too were already “enough.” You already had an inherent value and place here on Earth that nothing could ever tarnish or take away. There’s nothing you “need” to do to prove yourself. If you knew that, you’d be free to do whatever you “want” to do, instead – how cool is that?