We all aspire for greatness. It’s human nature to strive to be the best at what we do, to surpass the expectations we have created for ourselves, and to build our self image around what brings us the most confidence. But, on days when insecurities and doubts creep in, sometimes, the best thing we can possibly do for ourselves is not to remember that we are just as grand and brilliant as everyone else, but rather to remember that we are just as terrible as everyone else, too.
Every last person on this planet was designed for both the presence of beauty and chaos; everyone has made a plethora of mistakes in their life, has confronted failure, has looked fear in the face and cowered at the sight of it, and has experienced notable hardships. No one is immune, not even those you idolize, those you are jealous of, or those you strive to be.
Beyonce has made mistakes. Ryan Gosling has experienced failure. Lady Gaga has endured loss. Ellen DeGeneres has felt like an outcast. Name anyone you look up to, and know that those people have experienced laundry lists of losses along with their gains. But, if they had been unsusceptible to struggle, appreciating victory would have no space in their lives; that is true for anyone, rich, poor, famous, and simple alike.
We aren’t constructed to be immune to all things frustrating and disheartening. We are living catastrophes stitched together with both fury and light, and sometimes, this means that we get caught in the messes of emotion we create and receive. Maybe, then, those points of doubt in life aren’t the time to try to reach towards being greater, bolder, or braver, but rather to acknowledge our humanity, and respect all that comes with it. Putting on a smile during periods of madness and insecurity is not a requirement, so why do we continue to compare and push ourselves when we most often simply need acknowledgment and validation? Sometimes, the most courageous thing we can do is acknowledge our pain, rather than choosing to resist it and invalidate it in the process. All parts of our stories matter, not just the pretty, well-rounded pieces; our broken is as valid as our whole.
You are human.
You don’t exist for the sole purpose of being unconditionally happy, successful and confident, and neither does anyone else; allow yourself to recognize your struggles and moments that lack clarity, and know that they exist in the lives of others as well, meaning that you have just as much potential to be sad as Oprah or Jennifer Lawrence, just as much potential to be happy as Leonardo DiCaprio or Emma Watson, and just as much of a right to be a flawed, extraordinary human as the people closest to you in this moment.
So, don’t force yourself in comparison every time you experience doubt. Don’t immediately set the bar higher when you stumble. Don’t scold yourself for failure, or position yourself immediately towards pursuing greatness each time you begin to feel insecure about something occurring in your life or within yourself. Take a deep breath, acknowledge all of your – and everyone’s – terribleness and wonderfulness at once, and, if even for just a day, embrace every chaotic thing that adds to the brilliance of the person you are.
You are not your failures or your losses, but they matter just as much as the victories and celebrations; let them live in importance as well, and know that everyone on this planet — even those who seem immune to experiencing suffering — is just as terribly and wonderfully made as you.
As my dearest friend often says: “It’s okay to be proud of your survival. Existing can be hard.”
So, I ask of you to do simply that: exist. Have pride in your survival through chaos, embrace all of the disorder that comes with life, and love your terrible days and frustrating moments for what they are: human.