“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” Martin Luther King, Jr.
As my furry friend and I took our bone chilling walk this morning, I wondered why we are not as good a friend to ourselves as we are to others. I was proof positive of this, as I was always the first to criticize myself if I did something I perceived was not as good as it should be. The correct technical term is ‘Perfectionist’. It is something that I have been working hard on letting go of for a long time. Cutting myself a little slack.
But I knew that it wasn’t just me. There are many of us that do not treat ourselves very kindly. These people appeared to be all around me at the moment. Particularly those that were looking for work and unable to find it. They were perceiving themselves as not being worthy. Wondering why no interviews were coming their way, and blaming themselves.
Now many of these people I had worked with before, and I knew how skilled they were. They just couldn’t seem to remember that for themselves. And so naturally, I would try to gently remind them that they were skilled and that it was things external to them that were making them doubt themselves. But I knew they weren’t convinced. They were hearing my words but not internalizing them.
And I wondered how we got to the point that our self-worth was so tied into things that we had no control over. It seemed ludicrous to me. And yet, when I was looking for work, I remembered questioning my own skill and brutalize myself if I didn’t get the job after I had an interview. Even if I had good feedback, and they had made a different choice I was sure that it was my fault. It was torturous and now I saw a lot of people experiencing the same thing.
And after I got a job and saw for myself that I did have skill, and a lot of it to bring to the table, did I feel better about it. And then and only then, did I wonder how I had been so hard on myself. I remembered who and what I truly am. How had I lost sight of that? I could clearly see it in others, who have lost sight of who and what they really are. And I willingly remind them that they are worthy. But they don’t hear me. I can see it when I tell them, there are so consumed with being their own worst enemy, that they cannot even recognize the truth from a friend.
As I walked, I remembered a conversation with a friend whose father had passed. We talked about how young he was, and in conversation it came up that his dad had been laid off and not really recovered from that before he became ill. It made me incredibly sad to think that after working his whole life, that he might have gone out of this world not having felt like he did a good job or worse yet questioning his own self-worth.
And then I thought about some very courageous young people I know that were just taking a chance on what they felt was right. Not waiting for jobs to find them, but creating their own destiny. And I was filled with awe and pride in them.
We are not our jobs, or what we do for a living. We are so much more than that. We are the love that we provide to our families, we are the shoulder to cry on for our friends. We are the helpful hands in our communities, and we are the first to celebrate one another’s success.
And I knew at the core it was fear, fear that we would never get the job. Fear that we were not good enough. Fear was taking over and clouding our vision. Fear was immobilizing us. And I thought to myself, what if for once, we decided to try to be our own best friend? Just to be a little kinder and gentler to ourselves? What a difference this would make, to our own well-being and to those around us? What if it helped us to find our courage again, to face fear and boldly tell it, “No you clearly don’t know who and what I am”!
And with this thought, of course I encountered three birds in the tree ahead of me. Two Osprey and a Bald Eagle. I looked at them and laughed to myself, I didn’t even know you guys were buddies.
And then I said, “Good Morning”. Because I do stuff like that out in the wilderness. And one of the Osprey, swooped down a few feet in front of us and flew off. And because the birds appear to be talking to me, I looked it up to see what it means when an Osprey crosses your path. And this is the message that I received.
Do you feel out of your comfort zone? Are the changes in your life overwhelming? Have you taken on too much? Osprey lets you know you can survive even with your head under emotional waters. What are you worrying about? What others think? Who cares what others think. This your ego talking when you have this fear. Come from your heart instead. She reminds you have the ability to excel in any environment.
Well once again the birds show us wisdom!
May we support one another, and truly remember who we are!