Monthly Archives: June 2015

Loser

I read a description of myself today on Facebook. All I had to do was enter my name and gender, and this game had me completely figured out! Except that it was all wrong. According to this diginitized-magazine-self-help-test, I am that all powerful, always right, never had to try hard at anything person. In truth, I am usually wrong, very powerless, and always have to work my butt off because I have few talents person. And that’s fine by me.

When I competed in roller skating as a child, I had zero natural gift for it, and could just barely keep my feet under me the first…oh…3 months or so of trying. I remember bandaging the blisters on my feet, and my mom’s face when she would happen upon all of those bruises stretched across my thighs from slapping the freshly polyurethened floor one too many times. Every time, she would ask ‘Are you ready to quit?’, but the answers would always be ‘No way’.

Until that one day when my ‘no way’ changed to ‘okay’, but only because I had completely dissapointed myself by dropping my foot at regionals after training all summer, and then also finding out that my coaches were moving out of state. I felt like I wasn’t really quitting skating, but that skating had quit me.

Sometimes that ‘want’ we have to achieve something outreaches, outweighs, and outlasts our capabilities. I ‘want’ to write a novel, but I can’t force the idea. Neither could J.K. Rowling. Maybe I’ll never find my Harry Potter. Maybe I will. Either way, I’m nowhere near that person who is good at everything, and I’m truly grateful for that. I think that we ‘losers’ have an edge that natural born ‘winners’ do not. We are not afraid of failing. Rather, we learn how to fail gracefully, because…we gain in character what we lose in life.

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It’s All About Me

We all know those people. The ones who make everything about themselves. The ones who will one-up you at every turn, even if she’s never experienced anything close to what you were sharing. Even if you didn’t pause long enough for her insertion. Even if you didn’t want to know, yet, how very achy her forever hard working back is on this particular day. For me, there are few qualities in a friend that I find more offensive than this one, so – being ‘self-aware’ – I needed to ask myself, ‘why?’.

Have you ever heard that the qualities you detest most about yourself (and are unaware of), are the qualities you also hate most in someone else?

I remember once, about a decade ago now, sitting around a small backyard bonfire with my closest girlfriends while sucking down a few beers. The later the night grew, the more careless the tongues became. My best friend Laura finally confessed to me that I was one of ‘those’ friends. Me. A one-upper. She said that I never even asked about her.

I remember feeling crushed. I also remember knowing that she had nailed it. Feeling like the worst friend on the planet, I vowed to change that very annoying quality, and become instead a listener & a sympathizer. It wasn’t that I didn’t love her, or any of my friends for that matter. It also wasn’t that I wasn’t curious. I am just not a natural conversationalist. I talk to myself all the time (very quietly, and yes, I do attribute this habit to onliness). That tends to be one-sided, if you catch my drift.

So here I am, 10 years later, and still battling that silly tendency. It still troubles me deeply when I see it in others, but that’s a good thing, because I am constantly reminded of what I don’t want to be told ever again. I don’t want to be that person. I am passionately curious about people, and I need to reflect that by asking questions & listening. Listening and loving go hand in hand, I think. And who I am to one-up anyway?

Since I have removed as much stress as humanly possible from my life, I have found that my patience, my conversation, and my ability to focus on others has greatly improved. I had no idea how much fuller life could feel with just a little more consideration, and lots more listening. When we overflow, we have more to share. This is true in all aspects of life – be it money, love, care, consideration, trust, respect, or passion. I don’t want to clean up any spills, I just want to keep absorbing, keep sharing, and let the love flow.