Once upon a time in a place far, far away (okay, maybe it’s only the next state over), I used to save particularly funny AOL/Yahoo/MSN messenger chats I would have with my friends onto flash drives. Yes, chats. Meh. Okay, so I’m getting old. We’ll all get over this fact eventually.
The initial idea was that I would go back and laugh at these conversations one day. In reality, I forgot they existed as soon as I saved them. I actually have a terrible habit of losing my flash drives, which accounts for why I have so many of them. This doesn’t irk me normally, but last night was an unusual case. You see, I’d lost the latest typed copy of my novel…and it was on one of my many missing flash drives.
I know, I know. I’m not exactly sure how someone loses something as important as that, but we’ll just have to write it off as a highly exaggerated and most likely non-existent side effect of my aging. But that’s truly not the point here. The point is that I didn’t find my book, but I did stumble across my saved chats. Win-win.
One chat in particular really brought back memories; it was a conversation between me and an old friend, Jason. We unfortunately lost touch with each other when life got super busy (and his new girlfriend kinda decided he should stop talking to me…BOO! Down with the girlfriend!), but I can remember the many, many nights that Jason and I would poke fun at the absurdity of life and our seemingly never-ending personal shortcomings.
Jason wasn’t a suave man. Jason wasn’t an exceptionally poetic man. Yet, what Jason lacked in finesse, he plenty made up for with his unique sense humor. I simply had to share one of his many…”words of wisdom” with you guys.
“If I had your social ability I would use it at ALL times. I’m like a starving African, and you’re an American with a full refrigerator. Don’t let your food rot.”
It’s pretty much everything that could have been expected from a socially awkward and overly self-conscious guy like Jason, but gosh darn it, he was right. He would always say that he envied my social skills and robust personality, but I never thought much of it. I just figured it was Jason being Jason again. The truth of the matter was that I didn’t think much of these particular “gifts” of mine either. In fact, I rarely used them the way I probably should have, which is what prompted him to drop the gem above.
The one thing I dismissed as being “normal” or “no big deal” was something Jason desperately desired. How many of us take the skills and talents we’ve been given in life for granted?
I think there are situations and times in life when we fail to adequately recognize and celebrate the things we are good at. It is so easy–especially in today’s society–to look at the person next to us and think, “Gosh, they are so lucky. I wish I looked like that. I wish I talked like that. I wish I had this like them or that like them.”
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with striving for the best version of yourself, it is so important to occasionally take time out to appreciate the person you already are.
Maybe you struggle with low self-esteem or often find yourself lost in a cloud of self-doubt. Perhaps you don’t think that you have anything exceptional to offer the world. That is not true! I don’t care how insignificant, boring, broke, unattractive, unintelligent or whatever you may think you are, you have something inside of you that makes you absolutely priceless.
Instead of comparing yourself to others or worrying about not being good enough, focus on what makes you stand out from the pack and embrace that. After all, no one likes a copycat. Just be yourself!
No matter how hard we may run to chase it down, there is no such thing as perfection. So many people waste precious time focusing on the wrong things, trying to attain this perceived version of life that is thought to be better. You know, the whole grass being greener on the other side thing.
“If I could just find the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend…then I’d be happy”
“If I could just get a better job/car/house/spouse…then I’d be happy”
“If I could just have a bigger/smaller/rounder/flatter whatever kind of body part…then I’d be happy.”
Happiness is not an elusive magical unicorn at the end of the timeline of our achievements. You can be happy right now!
The truth is that happiness and confidence isn’t “out there” somewhere. It’s nothing you can find at the bar or on a dating app. It isn’t something you can slap on your resume or use to pay bills. And it most certainly isn’t something that a plastic surgeon can provide. True joy and confidence is found when we recognize and learn to cherish what is already inside of us.
I encourage you to carve out some time today and everyday to shower yourself with love and appreciation for being the wonderfully and uniquely made person that you are. And if you really want to amp up the happy factor, look for amazing qualities in other people and let them know how much you admire them. Not only will you brighten their day and help boost their confidence, but you will feel like a million bucks afterwards. Who doesn’t want that?
There is so much power and beauty in being grateful for what you have and who you are in this very moment. Never allow yourself to become so caught up pointing out what you lack that you fail to realize all that you are.
And remember, it’s true what they say: the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. While you’re over in your own yard wishing you could hop the fence, there could be someone watching you from the other side, just wishing they had what you so innocently disregard.