Many times in your life, you’ve probably felt like you didn’t belong in the world.
As a child, everything you did often went unnoticed. You were pitted against other children for a chance to be a winner, or in some cases, a little genius. You stood out and did things your way, but all you got were frowns of disapproval, so you learned to fear and despise who you were early on. Hurt by the feelings of being unwanted and the overall lack of care, you went into a little world of your own and got lost in it until someone noticed you were gone too long.
You went to middle school, then high school, then college. You were taught to “be better” than everyone else because that’s how you showed how important you were in contrast with those beneath you. You had to walk a straight line and go for as long as you could without stepping off of it. You pushed yourself to go faster, no matter how tired, sad, or just plain apathetic you’ve felt about a path you were forced to go through because everyone above you always told you that if you did “good enough,” you had a better chance to reach the top of the world.
You tried. You played the world’s game and made great strides, and for a while, you believed that by winning or at least being better than most people, you could finally earn the approval of those who thought you were going to fall out of line and never make it to the top.
You never made it.
Somewhere along the way, you fell off the line. And you ended up at the bottom. You’re not as hell-bent on winning as you used to be and you’ve lost your motivation. At times, you’ve even lost the will to live because how could you face the world when you fell off a perfectly easy path that had a clear end in sight? An end with all the praise and validation and success that any good and sensible human could ever want?
But you were different. You couldn’t force yourself or bully yourself hard enough to chase after what didn’t belong to you. You never wanted to be at the top of the world because you’ve felt like a stranger in it. It was brutal. It was taxing, to your body and to your soul. It didn’t care about all the things you loved, the beliefs you fought for, or the passions that kept you alive for so long. It was crushing you and you couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t your home.
And it still isn’t.
Before, you wanted to make this easy. You wanted to blindfold yourself and live in ignorance for the rest of your life so that you couldn’t see what the world really was like. It would have been easy just to lie to yourself and pretend that you’re going to win and show everyone how special you are for reaching the top.
But it never happened because that wasn’t what you wanted. Somewhere deep inside, you could see through the lies and false promises, and you knew how wrong it was for you to pretend that ignorance of your true self is a virtue that you could potentially be praised and rewarded for.
You saw the world for what it was, but you also saw a world within you – a beautiful sanctuary with an endless fountain of joy and peace. You realized that this was the world that kept waiting for your return after all these years, yet it has also evolved as you have. Quieter and less fanciful, but more refined. It still has that distinct feeling of home because it was the world you’ve created for yourself.
And now you realize that even when there are so many people to prove wrong, it’s never worth it to be at the top of a world that wasn’t your own, to begin with. It’s never worth it to be a spectacle to people who never saw how much value you had in the first place. It’s a losing battle to play in a game that you were never meant to win and you’ve come to accept that, make peace with it, and return to a world where you truly belong.
You’ve been able to balance being part of this world while creating your own because you’ve let go of the desire to compete against people in a place you never cared about at all. You know you don’t need to mold yourself into a lifeless statue to be at the top of a world you never belonged in.
You can still live, you can still serve, you can still offer your gifts, but you know that you’ll never call this world home because deep within, you have a home you’ll always return to.
You don’t hate the world that made you hate yourself, but you will not put up with its games any longer.
Because you ultimately know that you don’t need to be at the top of a world that isn’t your own.