Often I find myself playing this sort of broken record in my head, “I need more, I need to do better, I should be happier”.
For some reason these types of thoughts are very common if you’re a human living in the current world. Even if you were living thousands of years ago you would probably of had those thoughts as well.
We often approach our life and our thoughts as if we should have everything already figured out. We often look at our life and hardly ever give ourselves any sort of grace, space, or forgiveness when we approach anything in life.
When I started mastering, I thought I should just be able to master like a professional shortly after I started. Everytime my end product didn’t match up with what I was going for, I would think...”I need to learn more, I should be further along”. I was always stuck comparing and always stuck in the future. It took me years to embrace the idea that where I am currently is exactly where I need to be.
When I got out of college, I applied for so many jobs. The economy had tanked and I literally couldn’t get a full time job to save my life. I had a degree, recommendations, and I was qualified for so many jobs. The one thing I ran into, that I still see in the workforce is this idea that you have to have “experience” in order to qualify for a job.
I remember seeing entry level positions that required three to five years experince. I always thought, “how the heck can I get experience if no one will hire me to gain experience’. It’s a broken system and we often apply this same thought process to our life.
In life when we approach a new job, marriage, raising kids, cooking, working out, anything that is new in our life - we like to think that we should be experts. We approach things thinking that we should be able to nail it the first time, as if we have three to five years of experience in this thing that we literally know nothing about.
When we begin to try these new things and we fail, we often come down on ourselves so hard. We beat ourselves up over not being experts and not succeeding with ease with things that we have zero experince in.
I want to tell you a secret.
This is normal. None of us have experince in anything we are doing. None of us have lived a life before this one where we got to do everything we’re currently experiencing, trying, wanting, succeeding and failing at.
There is zero reason why you should be surprised when you run into failure or struggle. There should be zero reasons why you shame or guilt yourself over something you have never had to do before in life. Even if you make the same mistake multiple times, you still get more chances. Only you choose if you want to shame yourself and let others shame you for not being an expert in life with zero experince.
We’re all learning and growing. It will be that way for all of eternity. Spiritual people often talk about the afterlife and all the questions they will have and things they will continue to learn. We have this desire hardwired into us about wanting to learn, explore, create, and part of the depth of life is in the failing and struggle.
I spent years of my life with this idea that I “should” be better, I “shouldn’t” have certain thoughts or questions”, I “should be further along”... it’s all a waste of energy.
The word “should” is maybe the most detrimental word in our language. It implies that where we are currently is not good enough, but the reality of life is that where we are currently is our only option. You can’t be in the past, memories, or the future. We only have now. “Should” implies that we “should” have experience in life, that we are not allowed to learn and make mistakes, that we are not good enough, that we are not doing what we should be doing, but we’re all on our own journey, learning and growing, so give yourself a break.
Ask questions, fail, succeed, question, wonder, and know that whatever you’re going through currently is normal and that others have been there before and others will be there after you. There is no previous experience that we carry with us from a past life that “should” make this life easy, a breeze, or free us from having to go through difficult things in this life.
We have no experince and that’s great. It makes life, “life” honestly. It makes it new and fresh every moment. So next time you find yourself in a place you think you “should” not be, just think, “what is there to learn here?, isn’t this great I get to be here? What can I learn from this current situation?’. If you find yourself in a place you don’t want to be again, cut yourself grace and try again.
If you have people in your life that shame and guilt you for not being an expert already in life then reconsider who you hang out with and spend your time with. If your apart of a group or team or religious organization that doesn’t give unlimited grace and acceptance to where you are at and where you may continue to be, because you are learning and on your own timeline and not an expert in life, then you should consider leaving.
It’s that simple.
You can either live a life full of grace and acceptance that we are all on a journey and will make mistakes and that it’s all apart of this wonderful time we have on this planet or you can live a life that is narrow, small, and full of regret, “shoulds”, and always striving for something that already happened or something that has not yet happened. To live in that place is to live in limbo, purgatory, a literal hell as you are neither one or the other, you are never present and even when you may be you feel like you “should” be somewhere else.
I have been there and I choose to fight to be present, to be gracious, and to know that I have zero experience in this thing we call life and that is so freeing.
You don’t need more of anything, you don’t need to be better, and you don’t need to be happier, you just need to be you, right now.
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