Do you know that feeling of always think that you have to do more, to accomplish more? Do you know that burning desire of being inspirational, extraordinary, or maybe just not mediocre? Do you know the feeling of always needing to take the difficult road, because the easy one feels just too easy? Well, I do. And I found out that always doing more, choosing the hard, difficult road does not always lead to becoming more. Even though the whole world of social media, influencers and entrepreneurs is telling you that it will and that you should never settle for less. Find out what I tried to prove to myself, why I always wanted to do more (not for the better) and why I believe that taking a step back can be powerful, instead of always wanting to do more and go forward. Spoiler alert: it's not a short one.
As you might know by now, if you’ve read my previous blogs, I am a very impulsive, over the top, enthusiastic person who always tries to do more to give more. I will always try to push myself to do the uncomfortable and will never settle for the easy path. A mindset that should take you a long way according to all the influencers out there, right? Well, not always.
Always pushing yourself to do the uncomfortable, and taking the difficult road, isn’t always for the better. Let me tell you why:
I started to take the difficult path when I came to Barcelona. For the few months I had convinced myself that I had to do more, read more, and be more alone. I had to do these things to work towards my goals and dreams to become a life coach. To become more inspirational and positively influence the world around me. Still a noble dream right?
However, always wanting to do more, choosing to be uncomfortable, pushing yourself to your limits and challenging yourself can be toxic. Toxic when you do it for the wrong reasons. But how do you find out when you are doing things for the right reasons? A though questions I unfortunately can’t answer. Finding out that reason, your why, is arguably the toughest thing to do. Since it requires you to sit with yourself, to go into the feeling that you have been trying to avoid and to figure out where it is coming from. To sit down with your fears, insecurities, doubts and resistance, is an extremely difficult thing to do. But that is something else, back to the story.
After coming back from 4 amazing days with my buddies in Valencia I noticed this gut feeling when arriving back in Barcelona. The horrible feeling of having a knot in your stomach. The feeling of sadness. I left the train with my buddy and told him that I was probably not capable of holding back the tears for much longer. And there they were, the crocodile tears. When the metro doors closed, and I was alone again, I could not hold them back anymore. Poring down my cheeks, because this sadness was coming from deep within. A sadness I had been suppressing for a while.
You might think, but why? Why were you sad? Why cry if you just arrived home in amazing city like Barcelona after having 4 days off where everyone else had to work? Well, because I knew I had to go back to my room, live with myself, be alone and not have any money. I knew that I was going back to the life were I would push myself to make all the difficult choices, just because I believed that would help me in the long haul and was the right thing to do.
The last couple of months I had lived by certain values, certain believes. I believed that going through hard times, making difficult, out of my comfort zone, choices would make me more inspirational. They would add up to my story, and make me the inspiration I’ve always wanted to be. I always had to prove myself. If I did one thing, such as being more alone, I always had to do another thing afterwards, such as not accepting any financial help from my parents and being left without money. It was never enough. I was living by the wrong values. The values that needed validation outside of myself.
And that realization came, after another break down with plenty tears, after I finished the ‘Subtle art of not giving a fuck' by Mark Manson, (an absolute must read with more background information here.) The book made me realize that my values weren’t based on my capabilities or the fact that I was confident, but they were hiding my true insecurities. They were based on proving myself that I was enough. They were based on external validations factors. I wanted to be an inspirator, I wanted to do more to give more and I wanted to lead by example. But all of these things I always measured by metrics that were outside of myself; all the struggles I had pushed myself through, because those struggles would validate my story and make me inspirational.
However, all of these choices to take the difficult path and feel uncomfortable didn’t lead me to anything. It led me to feeling lonely, fearful, insecure and devastated. I have told myself over the last year that I wanted to become a life coach, but why? Was it because I want to inspire people because I know my story is enough? Or is it because I could get validations for the things I would say? Is it so that I don’t have to give in to my insecurities? Because I didn’t feel like I was already enough?
A second realization moment came when I was on the phone with my mom. After I finally accepted the financial support from my parents, she told me how unnecessary this choice had been (to be broke, live by spaghetti without any meet since I couldn’t afford it) and how she couldn’t get her head around it. I was still convinced that this experience had taught me a lot and that it was worthwhile. But the questions she asks afterwards hit me like a ton of bricks. She said: “What are you trying to prove and to whom?” That question hit me. What was I trying to prove? Why did I believe that I needed all these bad experiences to be inspirational? Why am I always trying to do more uncomfortable stuff to be of more value? An answer that was incredibly hard to find: because I didn’t believe that my story was enough. Because I am insecure and I believed that I need that validation.
When reading the last pages of the subtle art of not giving a fuck, I got hit by more ‘tons of bricks’. These sentences changed it all:
I will give you some time to digest it. That’s what hit me and gave me this breakthrough. And that’s why I wrote this blog:
The reason is not to discourage you to do the uncomfortable. To tell you to let everything go you are currently doing and sit down with your fears and insecurities to find out what your true why is. But it’s about telling you that you should never forget to live. To tell you that enjoying life as it is, is more important. To not always prove to yourself or the people around you that you can do more, because you are already great. You don’t need to go out of your comfort zone all the time to achieve greatness. I know how contradictory this might sound, but let me tell you it’s not worth it. Accepting yourself with all your imperfections is worth it. Living and enjoying life is worth it, instead of always thinking that you need to do more or to take the difficult road.
I wish accepting yourself was that easy, I wish that these words would just stick with you and you would believe them straight away and completely accept yourself. But I am pretty sure they won’t. Living in a society that is always displaying the extraordinary, showing you all the things you should do, the grinding, the hustling, the work ethic, the whatever, makes you always look for the next thing. Because there is always someone doing more, being better or taking more difficult choices. However, it does not mean that you can’t be vulnerable. I believe it’s important to be vulnerable too. To share your values and not always celebrate the hustle, taking the difficult road and the grind. To talk about what is going on and taking the time to sit with yourself. Take that step back to reflect and talk. Talk to the people around you, your friends, your family, and your loved ones. Open up about how you feel and don’t try to hide it by always doing more and taking up more. Because what is life worth if you completely forgot to live it?
You are great and you don’t need to prove that! Not even to yourself! You don’t need to look up to all the amazing people on Instagram and try to mimic them. Use it as fuel but don’t let that fuel ever burn you! It’s not worth it!