For forever we have been told the standards in which we should gain & pursue success. Whether it is to go to school, start our own business or obtain a 6 figure job someone has always projected the image of what success should look like for us. Despite the various avenues we take to obtain that success; the overall expectation appears to remain the same– work yourself to the ground, because if you don’t, you don’t want it bad enough. But let me tell you, this way of thinking is outdated & it doesn’t respect you as an individual.
Unbeknownst to many of us, we push theme often because the message is everywhere. It is even in the “inspirational” memes we continuously repost on social media. But today, I am telling you to define your own success & how you obtain it. Narratives that shame you on how you utilize every waking hour of your life is probably one of the most toxic narratives you can receive. Because as you’re hustling to keep up; your mental health is depleting & the reason for your hustle gets forgotten.
What value does your success offer if you lack wholeness? How much can you contribute to your purpose if you are mentally & spiritually depleted? If achieving success at the expense of your mental health is the only option you have, have you actually achieved it?
I say the same thing over & over throughout these memoirs. Live your life by your standards & do not feel bad when you live outside of the confines someone else has imposed. There is nothing wrong with working hard. However, if working hard requires that you sacrifice everything- including yourself; I urge you to re-evaluate your steps.
Life is meant to be lived fully. We are supposed to enjoy the journey we take to get where we are going. If our noses are to the ground & we do not take a moment to enjoy all beautiful things around us; we lost the thing that’s most important…
Nothing, not purpose, not finances, not anything is worth that.
Let’s talk about Imposter Syndrome. There have been many times I have experienced this in my lifetime. However, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to recognize that the feelings I had associated with this actually had a name. Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon that causes people to doubt their abilities enough to make them question if they belong at the table they are seated. These emotions are often feelings that cause people to invalidate their successes as if their hard work was not enough for them to be deserving of where they are. So many of us work so hard throughout our lives to ensure we provide the life we desire for ourselves and our families. However, despite how hard we work or how prepared we are; many of us combat (at some level) the anxiety associated with imposter syndrome.
Today, I am here to tell you to avoid succumbing to this warped perspective & claim the things you worked so hard for. You don’t have to work harder than the next person to prove you belong there. The fact that you are there, sitting at the same table, in the same room is all the confirmation that you need. You are not there by coincidence or happenstance but because God’s favor opened the door you chose to walk through & that’s enough reason to be where you are; doing what you’re doing.
Baby girl, those late nights & early mornings you invested were not for nothing. The education, the brainstorming & the creating got you there. No one knows the sacrifices you have made to be where you are & no one lays down at night being accountable for your choices and actions but you. Everything you ever wanted & received became a manifestation that you worked for. Don’t take that from yourself.
Let’s talk about timing. We spend our whole lives creating timelines for ourselves. We use timing to dictate parenthood, our career goals & our standards of success. However, I am learning that although it is important to establish goals; establishing strict expectations for your life will only contribute to self-loathing, anxiety & depression when God’s predestined plan trumps our own.
There is no preparation in the world that can keep from you what is meant for you. It’s true, there is a season & time for everything. Although we must maximize on the resources in front of us; we are not allowed to mistreat ourselves when things do not go according to our plan. Because the truth is, the plan that God has for us far surpasses anything that we could have ever imagined. Knowing that a plan that is greater than ours is already in motion; it is important that we just relish in the beautiful things that life has to offer.
We can strive to conquer goals & create “loose” timelines but understanding that life rarely ever goes the way we plan is one of the first steps of self-care. If we cannot plan time centered expectations; let’s plan to create new memories with the people we love. When it’s all said & done, the amount of time it took us to get to where we are headed is insignificant in comparison to the memories & experiences we leave behind.
Be gentle to yourself.
God hears your desires. It’s coming. Let him worry about the timeline.