Maybe you don’t need more inspiration.
Maybe you don’t need to give yourself a pep talk in the mirror every morning, write down your “why” you don’t forget, scroll through Pinterest until you feel something move inside you again.
Maybe you’re not lazy. Maybe you’re not disorganized or disordered. Maybe you don’t need more restriction or punishment or rules or goals.
Maybe you don’t feel naturally inclined to do something because you aren’t meant to do it.
Maybe continuing to push yourself isn’t the prologue in your success story, it’s a warning sign.
We are highly saturated in positivity culture, the sister obsession of positive psychology, a movement that started decades ago. We are coached to believe we can meditate, affirm and guru our way into or out of anything. We are made to think that we can literally do whatever we want, regardless of whether or not it’s actually feasible.
… And then we’re told that our failure is the fault of our minds, that we didn’t believe enough, try again, get up once more.
I’m calling bullshit.
Your thoughts do shape your reality, and given that that’s the case, here’s one that everyone needs to hear: not everything is for you, and the willingness to give up on that which you are not meant for isn’t failure, it’s a sign that you actually love yourself enough not to get stuck in a life you don’t really want.
The world is so hellbent on convincing you that you have to love yourself completely and unfailingly, that you try hard enough, you can become top, the best, the number one, the greatest ever.
Most of these things are wholly an illusion, though their parts feel nice.
It’s lovely to coddle ourselves with the idea that we are destined to be at the very tippy top 1% of the industry we choose, and that we haven’t fulfilled our greatest potential until we’ve done so. It’s reassuring to think that the only reason we dislike any part of ourselves is a fault within our thinking, one that we can repair.
The reality is that everyone thinks they’re the best, or at least, hopes to be. And that tip of the mountain? It’s elusive. It’s grueling. It’s reserved for a tiny fraction of the human population who arrive there only to realize they don’t even want it that much.
So this is the truth:
You are, in some ways, not as good as other people are.
You are in some ways ugly, inside and out. You have failed. You have not always been your best self. You have probably done wrong by those who you love, even if you didn’t mean to. You were not always as kind as you could have been. You have made mistakes. You have faltered. You have not always tried your hardest.
This doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.
It means you’re normal.
It means you have a functioning mind and emotional capacity. It means you’re not stupid enough to keep hitting your head against a wall when you realize that you’re not right for what you thought you wanted to do.
Your destiny is probably not to be the best, ever in whatever field you’re in. You are not meant for everything you try. You are not destined to fulfill every dream you have ever had. You are not meant to self-help your way out of every crack, flaw and problem, ever.
Sometimes, the problem isn’t you, it’s how you were trained to think.
And sometimes, the biggest way that people stand in their own way is by insisting that they hold true to the dreams they had for the person they were, instead of seeing and knowing and acting on behalf of the person they have become.
Do not be afraid to give up. Do not be afraid to start over, and try again.
If your work isn’t getting easier with time, it means you’re not getting better at it. If you’re not getting better at it, it means you’re probably not meant to do it.
This doesn’t mean you’ve failed yourself.
It means you found one more path that isn’t yours. And in the meantime, you’ve gained a lot of information and guidance on which one could be. And that process of growth and self-discovery is really what it’s all about.
All that “best ever” nonsense? That’s your ego talking. And you’re never going to feel endlessly motivated to do something you don’t really, actually want.