Sometimes I feel so frustrated and inadequate. I’ll come across someone else who is doing what I yearn to do, what I’m struggling to get to, hoping for, fighting for. They’re doing it, and they’re doing it better. They’re writing better, and people actually read it. They’re traveling all over. They’re smart and insightful and probably don’t have a temper like I do and damn it I bet they can even walk in high heels because I sure can’t. Then I think about why I haven’t gotten there yet – am I just not brave enough? Not talented enough? Haven’t been trying as hard as I could be? I mean, what I’m writing right now even sucks so far.
It’s easy to feel like you haven’t come far enough. It’s easy to question and doubt yourself, to wonder if it’s worth it to sacrifice happiness in order to gain meaning.
But… but that itch you I feel, that frustration and feeling of inadequacy, all of that is your dreams calling you to keep trying. To keep pushing. To keep hoping. Cherish those feelings; see them as proof of your own ambitions. Be kind to yourself, because you are a sea of hopes and misgivings and wants, we all are, and that’s what makes us human and amazing. It’s okay to not be there yet. It’s just not okay to beat yourself up over it.
There’s a quote by Rainer Maria Rilke that lifts me up in times like this – “I would like to beg you… to have patience with everything that is unsolved in your heart and to try to cherish the questions themselves, like closed rooms and like books written in a very strange tongue. Do not search now for the answers which cannot be given you because you could not live them. It is a matter of living everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, one distant day live right into the answer.”
What Rilke is saying is actually so simple it’s generally overlooked. We should never try to fast forward our lives, and yet we always do. Be aware of everything, be there for all your own ups and downs, and revel in them. The ups are what we enjoy, but the downs are what push us to become even greater, to keep going after what we yearn for so that we don’t become complacent.
I’m trying to make my dreams come true, too. I’m excited and hopeful and happy one day, uncertain and doubtful and frustrated the next. I don’t know if it will all work out the way I want it to, or if it will work out at all. But I do know this – you can’t forget to balance that drive and determination with peace and contentment. Let yourself enjoy the afternoon. When you’re with a friend, be all there. Don’t get so caught up in trying to get there that you don’t notice the quiet, unassuming goodness around you. It’s there. You have to remember to forgive yourself, be kind to yourself, and appreciate the beauty of living the questions before the answers.