“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life believing that it is stupid.” ~Albert Einstein
Looking back on my past, I see that I have spent most of my precious time striving to improve myself instead of celebrating the very gift of being alive and healthy. For many years, I though I wasn’t good enough, and perfection was my worst enemy.
I considered myself pretty but not beautiful, somewhat smart but not truly intelligent. In other words, I thought of myself as “average,” not outstanding. I grew up with the fear of getting bad grades in school because if I ever did, that would have made a new reason for me to feel ashamed and unworthy.
In the Eastern-European schooling system I grew up with, I was always compared to others and every day in school felt like a never-ending competition and fight for the glory of being the first in class. It was tough. I hardly had any free time to play, and most of my days were filled up with homework.
I spent quite a few years in school, including university. I held successful jobs in a big corporation, and I traveled the world with work. And I invested a lot of money, time, and energy into studying and growing in my career.
I’ve gotten to learn a lot about history, mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, literature, music, and foreign languages. Despite all that, there is one essential topic I would have liked the schooling system to prepare me for: how to know my own value.
So here’s what I didn’t realize at the time and what I know to be true today:
If only I knew my own worth…
I would have stopped focusing on my weaknesses, flaws, and imperfections without even being aware of my natural strengths, gifts, and talents.
I would have stopped fighting for perfection and punishing myself for every tiny mistake I might have made. I would have known that perfection was nothing but an illusion of the mind, and didn’t exist.
I would have acknowledged the hard work and efforts behind my achievements instead of attributing my accomplishments to luck or other people who gave me chances to succeed.
I would have stopped making myself small each time I achieved something good, as if “that wasn’t anything special” or “anyone else could have done it.”
I would have stopped taking myself for granted, being aware of the value I was going to bring to any of my employers with my personal set of skills and abilities. I could understand that getting paid for my knowledge was nothing but fair game. I would have found the courage to ask for a raise and negotiate my salary, and I would have never ended up underpaid.
I would have stopped comparing myself to others, knowing that everyone is on their own journey. I could celebrate other people’s successes instead of fearing I might not earn the same amount of money or get the same amount of love. I would have understood that life doesn’t have to be a fight or an exhausting competition—that there is enough of everything and for everyone, including myself.
I would have felt at ease when praised by others, embracing compliments with grace. I wouldn’t have made myself small or put myself down as if I wasn’t worthy of such a celebration.
I wouldn’t have acted like a master of people pleasing, not daring to say no to the things I didn’t really want to do, fearing people wouldn’t like me any longer. I wouldn’t have felt like I owed anyone any apologies or any explanation for the way I was spending my time and with whom. My time means life and it’s never coming back.
I wouldn’t have expected others to make me happy, fulfill my needs, and keep my cup full of love, care, and attention. I wouldn’t have expected any man to make me feel valued, cherished, wanted, and loved, knowing that my happiness was my responsibility and every else was a bonus.
But despite all that, here’s the gain in pain, the blessing in disguise, and the real gift of my life experience:
I am convinced that we live in a smart, intelligent Universe where everything unfolds perfectly, and everything happens for a good reason.
I am not here to blame anyone for anything. I am not a victim. Society did the best it could at the time. So did my parents and my teachers. My life circumstances have nothing to do with my future, and I am the one co-creating my reality through how I think, act, and feel. It is my birthright to be happy, only because I am human. I am here to grow and learn more about life and myself.
It is never too late to step into my power and feel worthy of the best things life has to offer: good health, love, and abundance. When I value myself, others will value me as well.
Today, I know I couldn’t do my empowering work in the world from a place of authenticity and power without going through such a disempowered experience myself. There is no light without darkness.
I stopped explaining myself for what I want and for who I am. I am not afraid to step into my greatness. I am perfectly beautiful and beautifully imperfect, and this allows me to be me. I have learned how to love and approve of myself, exactly the way I am.
I have come to realize that in life, we don’t always get what we want because we only pursue what we think we deserve. That’s why it’s crucial that we believe in ourselves and see ourselves as enough and worthy of the best things life has to offer.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” ~Henry Ford
About Sara Fabian
Sara Fabian is a women’s career and empowerment coach and inspirational speaker, on a mission to help professional women to discover their unique strengths, gifts and talents, boost their confidence, find their calling and live a meaningful life of purpose. For weekly inspiration, subscribe to her free newsletter at sarafabiancoaching.com or follow her on Facebook.