Monday, June 18, 2012

We Are Not the Same

 A few days ago I had a conversation with a friend about her sister who recently found out that she has stage 4 breast cancer. She mentioned feeling guilty when heading out to run thinking, "my sister can't do this...", but then realized her sister would be the first to tell her she's ridiculous and encourage her to go live her life; don’t waste it feeling bad. Go and run for her. 

The last several weeks I had wondered if my ability to decide to quit my job and pursue a happier path was a spoiled luxury- what about people, especially females, living in other countries and cultures who would never even be able to dream about doing what I’m doing? What about people in our own country having trouble finding jobs? I felt guilty and wondered if I needed to learn to just suck it up and be grateful to have a job and the freedoms I do have, but then I realized what a stupid excuse that was to get stuck. The fact of the matter is, I am lucky enough to live in a place and be in a position where it is an option for me to set off and explore other paths. (When I say “lucky enough” I am referring only to the fact I live in a country and culture where I have the freedoms to make decisions like the one I’ve made. I am not referring to life being super easy and I just happen to be independently wealthy. Neither of those things are true for me. Additionally, the position I'm in I've worked really hard to get to for several years.)I can dream and pursue. I can find out what makes me come alive, and maybe through it be able to help others in some way.  

 "Your playing small does not serve the world."
-Marianne Williamson
Over the years I’ve found myself intentionally dumbing down so I wouldn’t offend, threaten, or make anyone feel insecure. I would hide that I knew the answers to questions or pretend I didn’t understand when I did, I wouldn’t lift as much or run as fast or train as long because I didn’t want others to feel discouraged if they weren’t at the same level. At some point along the way, I recognized how counterproductive that was. No one is going to be inspired if no one is flying higher.
It is our responsibility to cultivate and excel at what we are born to do. Pretending that we’re all at the same level in the same circumstances is absurd because we’re NOT. I suck at playing music. Some of my friends are unbelievable musicians. I’m great at cooking. Some of my friends can barely make toast. So, they’ll write a song, and I’ll make dinner. We are still equal, but we are not the same.

The point is this: just because someone else can’t and you can is not your excuse to not do whatever it is you can do, and do it really well. Go be amazing. Go do what you do best, and do it proudly.

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