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Friday Thoughts on Selling Yourself Short

April 9, 2010

It heartens me immensely when I find people who are thinking about similar stuff that I’m thinking about. Believe me, that doesn’t happen to me all that often. So, today was a good day in that respect. Yesterday, I was whining a little bit to Ben about life and feeling like it’s so hard to figure it all out. “Why do I make everything so complicated?!” I said to him in frustration. Very calmly, he answered “Well…it is complicated.” He has a gentle way of reassuring me that I’m not crazy, which comes in handy sometimes.

But hearing from others who are in the same boat can be incredibly helpful too, so imagine my delight when I came across a new blog that called the Quarter Life Quest. It is written by Eran from Vancouver, who writes about things mostly related to creating the life you want rather than just putting in time for a paycheck or living up to expectations. So yes, I’m definitely not the only one struggling to figure this all out. And the thing is, of course I know this…but it is nice to hear it too.

The other thing was that I had my weekly lunch date at school with my friend Andrea (she reads this blog – hi Andrea!) and we ended up talking about it too. She said how she’d been thinking about living life authentically, being in charge of it rather than having it run by other people. (I hope I summarized that correctly.) And she exclaimed: “I just don’t want to sell myself short!” (Hence the title of this post.)

I so agree with that…
Selling myself short, to me, could mean:
– not living my life according to my values
– working in an environment where my contribution is not acknowledged
– working for a paycheck and not something I truly care about
– allowing people in my life that make me feel bad about myself

Just a few thoughts. And if I think about it (I don’t have to think about this very hard at all), these things are present in my life, some to a higher degree than others. And the funny thing is, it could be easy to just keep going and not think about the direction that I’m going in. But I’ve noticed that when I do things that put me in that place where I feel in connection with my authentic self, it becomes very hard to tolerate those places where I’m not living from that place. It’s sort of a double-edged sword – I started putting more of a priority on doing creative things in my life and suddenly I almost can’t stand doing the things that don’t allow for that. But that aside for now…Let’s just say that this is definitely a theme in my life right now (and umm…always) and I’m excited for some of the thoughts and feelings it has sparked in me and it’s exciting to me to see how others go about creating their own lives.

Then there is the other side of not selling yourself short. On the way home on the bus, I pulled out my O magazine and read an article written by Elizabeth Gilbert, she of Eat, Pray, Love fame. It made me a little teary-eyed. She writes about how women at this time have so many options, but so little role-models of how to go about creating our lives because we’re the first generations to have this many options available to us. She argues for giving ourselves a little break. She writes about women who are accomplishing great things, but are wrecked with self-doubt that they’re missing out on other things by doing the things they have chosen to do. Elizabeth Gilbert asks:

“Can we lighten up a little?” and she says As we head into this next decade, can we draft a joint resolution that we must all be perfect friends and perfect mothers and perfect workers and perfect lovers with perfect bodied who dedicate ourselves to charity and grow our own organic vegetables, at the same time that we run corporations and stand on our heads while playing guitar with our feet?

(full article in O magazine of May 2010

I laughed when she mentioned growing your own vegetable as I’ve been feeling slightly guilty at the state of our backyard and have been feeling that I should really sow my tomato seeds. But really? Do I have to? I’m going to school and working and looking after my pets and trying to get time in with my husband and oh yes, writing a blog. Maybe I won’t grow tomatoes this year. And really…nobody will care. It’s just another expectations I put on myself.

And then she goes on to make an argument for failure…being okay with trying and failing. And she says “Fall flat on your face if you must, but please, for the sake of us all, do not stop”. Again, it’s not that I don’t do this or know this, but it is nice to hear someone say it sometimes. It is impossible to feel at times that I should get it right somehow, because I have so much available to me. But the thing is that I won’t, so I might as well get over it.

So, yes, I’m in the wrong job, but heck, I make a great cappuccino. And I’m kind to people. And that matters – well, not so much the cappuccino (although you’d be surprised…), but kindness does.

So, yes, let’s give ourselves credit for getting out and trying every day and for taking the steps toward our dreams even when we falter along the way. And for the record, I don’t think that the latter thought negates the first one at all – just because we give ourselves a break doesn’t mean that we settle or that we stop dreaming. And I do commit myself to constantly evaluating whether I’m moving in a direction that is ‘true’ for me. And I hope this for everyone. But in the meantime, I will give myself a break. I’m gonna need it along the way…

What matters to you? What do you want to create in your life? Where can you give yourself a break? Do you have any feelings of guilt that are laughable when you think about them like my guilt for not growing tomatoes?


3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2010 4:29 am

    :* he, dacht ik toen ik je blog zag..ik heb bijna net zo’n foto:) alleen volgens mij staan er geen gebouwen op..en zit er minder geel in hahahaha..
    mooi geschreven hoor zus! grappig hoe pap en jij het allebei over tomaten in de achtertuin hebben :) hihi.. love you!

  2. francina permalink
    April 10, 2010 5:16 am

    Jaydn, dear, I am loving your blog and I totally agree with your latest post: don’t sell yourself short, keep going, no matter at what speed but do it, but go into the right direction.
    I have spent the last 10 years of my life just doing, without feeling any connection to my actions so I admire you for being so honest and perceptive of what is going on.
    And the capuccino thing, oh man I wish there were more good-cappucino-makers in the world, so when I am abroad I don’t have to argue with people about good cappucino .-)

  3. April 11, 2010 7:10 pm

    What a thought-provoking post. I think I’ll have to give it a little time to mull around in my head before responding properly, but I definitely agree that selling yourself short is a good way to describe whether or not your life is fulfilling enough to you. And I think being kind to people (especially when you see as many people as you must!) is just one of the most important jobs out there… it makes any job worthwhile!

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