“Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself-and thus make yourself indispensable.” Andre Gide
I wish I was good at sports involving hand-eye coordination but when I play volleyball I usually get hit in the head. My grandmother tells me stories of when I was little. “You used to try so hard, you would swing that bat and you could just not hit that ball. You would try and try but you missed it every time. You would come crying to me and bury your face in my legs and ask for help. No matter what we did or tried you could just not hit that ball.” The fact that I am that bad is embarrassing on a number of levels. I tried to shoot hoops at the gym a couple of weeks ago and was about 3 for 50. Although, I did win a game of ladder-ball once…maybe I’m just not good with things that are completely round. If you play tennis or ping-pong with me just be happy if I manage to get the ball back to your side of the net. Adding in all the rules will just leave us both more than frustrated. I’m not the only one with this problem. My girlfriend tried to become a golfer but when she accidentally hit her husband in the head with the club while taking a swing she called it quits. He couldn’t talk to her for three hours after, he tried not to be mad, but he said it just hurt too much.
We all have things that we excel at and things that do not come so easily to us. Obviously I have no natural talent for softball, basketball, or volleyball. We all have things we enjoy doing and things that we dread. So why do we sometimes pursue the things that go against our grain?
I have given up the dream of being an amazing tennis, volleyball, softball, or kickball player. If I’m honest with myself when I was trying to improve my skills in those areas it wasn’t so much for me as it was because I wanted to fit in or because I liked the idea of being good at those things. Looking at it further I also realize that pursuing them provided more frustration than joy. Sports with balls aren’t my thing and I am just going to have to learn to be okay with that.
Sometimes instead of trying to pursue things that don’t bring us joy we give up the things that do. I love to travel and last year I tried to take a break from it. I wanted to be responsible, save up, stick around, be a home-body. People kept telling me how good it would be for me. It wasn’t two months before I had my first panic attack and another month before I booked a one way ticket. Traveling brings me so much joy and trying to go against that sent me into illness. Staying true to myself not only keeps me happy, it keeps me healthy.
I see people try to change themselves to appear more attractive or fulfill a role in a relationship. Compromise is one thing, but you can’t throw yourself away. Eventually the real you will come out and no one will be happy. Why not have someone love the real you to being with?
Be honest about who you are, not just with those around you, but with yourself. Pursue the things that bring you joy without listening to what others tell you is the right thing for you to do. Try new things, learn new things, but if after a few tries it isn’t bringing you joy, give it up! If you love cooking, cook more! But if you hate cooking don’t apply for a job as a chef. Don’t let society, or anything dictate what your role should be, what you should be good at, or what you choose to pursue. In the end if you pursue what you love, you will be very good at it and you will be able to share something magnificent with the world.