Feb 23, 2015

Be 100% You Guest Post

I’ve been reading some of my old journals lately from back when I was in middle school and high school. Other than the fact that I’m taller and look totally different than I did back then, as I’m reading, I’ve been noticing some other things are different too. It seems like back in middle school I was really, really worried a lot of the time about how I looked and how my friend’s saw me. There are some entries in my journal where I was super upset because Keri was mad at me again and I didn’t know why or a girl at school told me my outfit was ugly and I was pretty hurt. I don’t remember all the details, but even reading about how I felt back then makes me sad. It seems like the version of me that I put on those pages so long ago often felt like other people didn’t like who I was and everything I tried to do was wrong, from the way I dressed to who I hung out with to what I did in my spare time.

What I do remember is that it seemed like nothing I ever did was enough or right and it was so exhausting! Trying to make everyone around me, including my parents and my friends, proud and happy was making one person totally miserable. Me. I was so petrified about screwing something up and letting someone down that I really wasn’t doing much at all. I’m so glad Keri and I found out about adventure scouting back then. All those trips I took with her and the guys in our scout post (with Mr. Lewis there in case we really needed him) taught me a lot. Seeing all the awesome things my friends and I could accomplish (and getting all that great exercise) really gave me the confidence I needed to try even more. Plus, there was so much we had to do for ourselves that I learned really quickly that mistakes are actually okay to make. Experiencing things like not having the right kind of shoes for a hike really helped me learn on my own what I should do differently next time. Other times, when I had gotten the hang of it, trusting myself and my strengths made me feel good for having figured out my own way that worked. Trust me, nothing feels better than knowing you’ve done something amazing yourself, even if it is with your friends right beside you.

These days, even though I still care a little about whether or not people like me, it’s not such a big deal if they don’t. Being popular just isn’t that big of a deal anymore. After high school, some of my friends went off in different directions and we don’t always talk much. It seems like other people come and go, but I’m stuck with myself all the time. As I’ve grown up, I’ve discovered that what’s even MORE important than what all those other people think about me is what I think about myself. Guess what?  I’m a lot less miserable this way than I was when I was trying so hard to not fail at making other people happy. Making mistakes isn’t scary anymore either. In fact, it’s kind of fun. There’s this quote my friends and I remind each other of when we see each other try something and get frustrated when it doesn’t go as planned. It’s from Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb.
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
See, without trying you can’t really ever fail, but you can’t really succeed either because nothing’s really going on at all. You’re motionless and stuck for fear of what might happen. Fortunately, most of the time, all the bad things you dream up and worry about never even come true. What a shame it’d be if you missed out on something really cool because you were too scared to not be perfect at it. Maybe you can use this quote yourself when you are scared of trying something new. Write it in your journal and then write about a time when things didn’t go right the first time around. Mistakes are totally worthwhile when you learn from them. When you are done writing, get out there and be 100% you, mistakes and all. You’ll be awesome at it. After all, no one else can be you quite like you can.

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