Sunday, April 22, 2012

Den of Thieves

I put pressure on myself to be the best. My job, schoolwork or relationships become reflections of what I have to offer the world. If I am the best at my job, then and only then am I worthy of your time and love. I let this illusion play out until I'm standing on toothpick-thin stilts of imagined self-worth.

This self-imposed pressure disconnects me from what I can learn from others. When someone asks a really great question, or throws out a creative idea, I don't commend them. Instead, I berate myself for not thinking of it first. When I see others accelerate in their careers, I don't think about how great it is to surround myself with dedicated, ambitious people. Instead, my self esteem plummets because I am not the best and brightest. Never mind they have something different from what I want. I have failed. 

But there has to be more to me than my job. A little flicker of light within me refuses to dim. Berating myself is not going to help me ignite that spark. Yanking myself from the present moment with "shoulds" will not help me define what I believe to be success. These actions keep me locked into other people's ideas of what success looks like instead of defining my own. Instead, I will open myself to my own, toe-curling, arms-to-the-sky, full-throated rebel yell celebration of the present moment. Joy will be on my own terms, and I will give myself the gift of seeking it. 


  1. I saw this quote on pinterest recently and it has been on my mind. So so true!

  2. I call that unrelenting critical voice inside my head, my gremlin. Oh, that creature is a sly one, one that never seems to sleep. But I try to remember that just by noticing my gremlin, it's power starts to fade. Granting myself grace is one of the hardest lessons I've had to learn - am still learning - but it's the most important.

    I absolutely love your writing Nichole - thanks for visiting!


  3. Hi Nichole, thanks for stopping by my blog! This post of yours struck a chord with me. I struggle with trying not to be the best; wanting to be the best has driven me to obsessiveness and callousness in the past, and I don't like to be that way - it's relentless and exhausting and the rewards are not worth the process you have to go through. I imagine that you're probably quite hard on yourself, which in turn will probably lead you to be quite tough on others too? I know that is how it was for me anyway. Something that helped me, was having compassion for others, trying to be empathetic to myself and those around me. If you aren't critical of others, then use that compassion you already have for other people - on yourself! Even though it sounds ridiculous.... speaking kindly to yourself will help you on your road to joy. i took your link to your previous post regarding...toe curling and success. I agree, one has to be very careful how they define success. Mine is on a day to day basis, sometimes it is as simple as getting through the day without growling at my kids. If you want to, you can get to the end of the day and find one itty bitty thing that you can call successful, take a deep breath, exhale, and feel better about things. Take care and enjoy your journey. x

  4. This post definitely spoke to me. I've struggled with this as well. This? "When someone asks a really great question, or throws out a creative idea, I don't commend them." Always a battle for me, but one that I force myself to win. It's much less about other people and more about how tough I am on myself. I used to choose not to do things if I couldn't be the very best at it. Luckily, knowing this about myself allows me to fight against it and revel in whatever I have to give.

    Thank you for sharing so beautifully.

  5. Wow...finding a blog that resonates so much with your own thoughts always feels lovely...I have today, and look forward to reading more honest and insightful words. Thank you x

  6. Thanks for stopping by The Stitchy Life and saying hello! :D

    That quote couldn't be more true, and yet I find myself at times (sometimes more, sometimes less) saying the same berating things you said! Pure silliness. I like what you said about being happy by surrounding yourself with people and recognizing their talents! They inspire~
    Happy Tuesday!

  7. wow! i needed this post today! what words of truth. and that quote! couldn't be more true.

    thank you!

  8. mmmm. yep. self worth is dang tricky. i love the dalai lama's advice on working with it. being honest with yourself and everyone for that matter, about what you are capable of. it distills it all down to a very simple truthful reality, where there's nothing but truth. no problems. just true admitting of what our limits are. love that.