Have you ever felt like a little girl at a birthday party watching all her friends carefully swing at the pinata desperately waiting for your turn?
Every time another girl wraps her fingers around the stick she memorizes where the pinata is and rehearses her swing.
What seems like five minutes later she makes her first swing and hits the pinata…no candy.
Finally it’s your turn. You grasp the stick in your hand and start swinging. You swing and and swing and swing. Your breathing is heavy. Finally you hit something and a loud shout erupts.
Tearing off your bandana you drop to one knee with the stick beside you reaching out for candy, but in the midst of scattered candy you see your best friend crying.
In all your aimless flailing you did hit the pinata, but at a high cost.
At A High Cost
That’s how I felt last week – like the little girl desperately waiting her turn. When my turn finally came I surged ahead – a fury of action and energy. I just wanted to get stuff done! And I did.
I got a lot of stuff done, but at a high cost.
My sisters and coaches, on the other hand, are methodical and specific. They’re the little girls who visualize the pinata and rehearse their swing for five minutes, while I wait. My brain tells me I could have hit the pinata five times and swung a total of twenty-five times in the time it takes them to prepare. Five minutes later, however, they do hit the pinata. But hitting the pinata on their first swing without hurting their friends, and without sprinkling candy on the floor came at high cost.
Why I Hated Myself
When I compared myself to my friend’s strengths, I started to hate myself. While my charging accomplished much, it left trails of wasted projects, unproductive time, dead-end dreams, and hurt relationships. Sure, there were landmarks to prove my existence, some were even solid stepping stones across a river.
But the stones weren’t what cried the loudest, my mistakes did. And at a high cost – the cost of hating myself. Hating my god-given strengths and personality.
What Hating Myself Looked Like
So, I began to shut down the real me. I curled up inside myself and tried to be like them. I thought that if I could cocoon the real me tight enough maybe a new butterfly that looked and acted like my friends would emerge. Bound in this cocoon was my laughter, my appearance, and my unique strengths. Something new emerged, but it was not me. It was a doll. And, her creation came at a high price.
Until one day, my cocoon ripped. That tear spilled a little of the real me and I saw it make someone’s day better. They smiled and I smiled back. So, I let the tear get a little bit bigger. It was scary. There was so much of me that might hurt someone, but I wanted to know if there was more of me that could make someone’s day better. And there was, but discovering it also came at a high cost.
The cost was so delightful to pay,
because every time I paid it
I knew I was becoming more myself.
The cost of making the same-old-me mistakes. But the cost was so delightful to pay, because every time I paid it I knew it was me. I had made the mistake and I had learned a lesson so next time I would do better. I wasn’t trying to be someone else.
Why I Stopped Hating Myself
You see, when I was trying to be someone else I still made mistakes. I just didn’t learn anything. I didn’t know how to do better next time, because there wasn’t a me I could fix, there was just a someone else to be. That’s when I learned, no matter what, the cost is high.
Get-something-done-now me comes at a high cost.
Get-it-right-the-first-time them comes at a high cost.
Trying to be them comes at a high cost.
And, being me comes at a high cost.
The cost is high no matter what.
Why I Started Liking Myself
So, the question is not, how high the cost, but what is worth a cost so high?
I am worth a cost so high.
You are worth a cost so high.
Simply, because no one else can be us.
If we’re not us, who will be?
Those get-it-right-the-first-time friends are the friends who make me great, because they give me answers when I fall down – they have solutions, because while I’ve been flailing they’ve been planning.
And the get-something-done-now people like me make our friends look great because we get them going. While they’re still planning the party we’re tying up the pinata and grabbing the stick.
I need and sometimes envy my get-it-right-the-first-time friends, but if I try to be them, their get-something-done-now friend doesn’t exist.
What Liking Yourself Looks Like
It’s just like the little girl who wildly whacked that pinata so hard candy rained down all around, some flying into her best friend’s face, making her cry. Because, even with all minutes of precision her friends applied before swinging, no candy emerged and no shout erupted. So it’s true that, without their get-something-done friend, no one would have cried, but no one would have squealed when the candy was finally free.