Here is something I have been thinking about lately…
In a conversation I was having with a friend of mine, I realized how we as human beings can sometimes develop and not even notice it, because we are too busy living. So, I decided to stop and to do a little bit of retrospection, to see if I had learned anything new lately. To keep it simple, I went back to when I first arrived in England. This has been the newest phase in my life and what lessons did the move bring to my life? Well, a few. But here are the lessons that stood out the most.
A few months after moving here, I began a personal project. If you don’t mind I’ll keep the details of that project to myself :). The project was a great idea – one I knew would affect myself and others around me in a positive way. But, it was going to be a bold move on my part. What I was planning was something not everyone around me was doing. Beginning the project meant that I would have to tread a course many were not even thinking about treading. It meant I would have to stand alone, with no one to mirror myself against. I was opening myself to judgement and criticism. I was putting myself out there. In short, I was going to be putting myself in a vulnerable position.
At that moment, two distinct yet very different voices spoke inside of me. One said, ‘You can do this. Be strong and courageous.’ The other said, ‘Who are you to do this? Do you think that you are better than the others? You are not good enough. You have way too many mistakes. This won’t work out. You will fail. You’ll make a fool of yourself.’ Right then, a war took place inside of me. Which voice was I going to listen to? One was assuring, the other was loud! And, I knew that I would have to live with the consequences of whichever choice I made. Well, I chose to listen to the assuring voice. I took on that new project. I wish I could say I was strong and courageous, but I wasn’t at first. I was still fearful, I doubted myself, but I trusted that voice that told me to go ahead. And, a year or so down the line, I now realize I have learned a lot from taking on that project and I have definitely grown as a person. Here are the lessons I brought out of that experience:
o When I began my project, I was the only one doing it. Today I look around and many people are doing the same thing. So, lesson number 1: At times you just have to be your own role model. Sometimes, the person you have to follow is yourself. Though it is lonely being the first one and you often have to learn by trial and error, it is the only way to bring change.
o Now, I mentioned that I felt I wasn’t good enough. That brought me to lesson number 2: Believe in yourself! That’s perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned out of this. I don’t have to be perfect to do great things. I will never be good enough, because I’ll always have shortcomings. But, I can always be bold enough. Bold enough to begin, bold enough to trust that I will learn what I need to learn. And, in my case, bold enough to trust that God will guide me. Even though I’ll never be free of imperfections, by learning to believe in myself I open myself up to being a contributor in God’s Work rather than a spectator.
o Lastly, here is lesson number 3: A luta continua! The fight goes on. No matter how much you might not want to deal with it, that internal battle will never go away. Those two voices have existed long before you were here and will exist long after you have been here. Before every victory there is always a choice to be made – which of the two voices you will follow. The victory or defeat begins deep inside of you. Be strong and courageous in your choice!