Chadwick Boseman said, “I don’t know what your future is, but if you are willing to take the harder way, the more complicated one, the one with more failures at first than successes, the one that has ultimately proven to have more meaning, more victories, more glory, then you will not regret it.” I’ve spoken candidly many times about regretting not living my life how I wanted to sooner. When you struggle with anxiety, you do things that soothe or comfort the fears your mind creates– like people please or shelter yourself. Your validation comes externally and that means your world collapses easily because it is built on the flimsy foundation of people’s whims/opinions. Your life belongs to them, not you.
It takes incredible strength and perseverance to step away from what people tell you you should be doing and to venture out into the world of what you know is right for you, a world of your own creation. It’s terrifying to take that first step knowing you may fail or that the people you relied on for reassurance are now no longer there or they are now telling you that you can’t do it. When you put aside all of that nonsense and take the leap, the universe has a way of catching you. The key is not to get discouraged when you fall. Sometimes you have to hit the bottom to see what you really want.
The beautiful thing about the bottom is there isn’t anywhere else to go but up. It is so important to normalize falling. We actually already do it—when children learn to walk, they tumble repeatedly and we praise them for their efforts and we tell them to get back up again, over and over until they finally get it. And when they do finally master their wobbly little legs into more confident strides, we celebrate like they won the biggest match of their lives. The truth is we know that learning takes time and it’s wobbly at first. We are prepared for the falls when we are younger but somehow shame them as we get older. How do we lose sight of the value in the process? What makes us think that we should automatically know how to do everything with no learning curve? We put this expectation on ourselves to be the masters of life by a certain age. We forget that isn’t how it works. We need to keep an open mind and always be willing to learn.
We aren’t designed to perfect this life–we are designed to make the perfect life for ourselves. No one’s journey will look the same—and it isn’t meant to. We need to teach resilience and fortitude and we have to celebrate those traits the same way we do when we are children. Somehow we remember the value in starting little and allow that for children and push it aside as adults. We need to level the field and stop looking at someone further along in the process and using that as an excuse to not start. When someone is further ahead on the spectrum we need to normalize that as inspiration, not a reason to stay behind. It’s motivation, not competition.
The reward of the work is the result from your efforts. There is no punishment for failing as we try—that is how we learn the lessons. It’s all about how you want to put yourself out there and what you want to make of it. You have the ability to do anything—so build the resilience to keep going when you feel like you’ve reached your max. Trust me, there is always more when you feel depleted. Rest if you must, but don’t stop. You will never regret it.