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This week, I had the privilege of connecting with a dazzling lady. She had the letters "Dr." in front of her name and an equally impressive smile to match.
We had scheduled a "get to know you" meeting over video chat and I was excited. I also wanted to sound like I knew what I was talking about. She came at me humble and unassuming, so naturally, I did what my fragile ego likes to do:
I started to spout off what I do and I how do it like I was some sort of demi-sales goddess. She listened. It only emboldened by deep desire to feel important, to be respected and I rattled on.
The truth is this desperate ramble was coming from a broken place.
I’ve always struggled with not feeling smart enough. In a math and science-worshipping world there really wasn't any room for marginally gifted dreamer-artist types like me. I say "marginally" because, my creative gifts aren't even maverick. They're just inborn tendencies, but not enough to be prodigious.
All I knew is that my brother was on the Engineering track and had somewhere along the lines of life made excellent friends with calculus and his left brain. I on, the other hand, wrote mediocre poetry, cheezy romance novels and saccharine stories about ideals that didn’t have a hope in Hades of coding HTML or building Apps.
I didn’t know where to fit in or how exactly I could contribute real value to the world with being mathematically challenged and underwhelmingly creatively inclined.
I didn’t feel good enough.
I’ve always thirsted to be good at something, to be the “expert” in the room, to mete out wisdoms to the hungry masses, throwing out morsels of know-how with the full force of my genius on display.
Ridiculous. I know. Chill…I’m trying to make a point here, keep reading it’s coming right up.
Back to my phone call with the "Dr."...
I went on and on, swelling and virtually salivating at the prospect that I had finally met someone I could teach a thing or two to.
She could do what I do and does it x100. She was smart, capable and in one conversation I learned more from her than I had anticipated or bargained for.
I had the good sense to quickly deflate my puffed up self and eat some humble pie (I consider this quick course correction somewhat of a brownie point).
After the phone call I took some time to reflect.
For once in my “the-glass-is-half-empty” life I stopped myself from seizing the opportunity to hit replay on my failure to side-step my brokenness during our convo. I chose instead to take it as a LESSON.
Here’s what I learned:
• Once you catch yourself coming from a place of striving to project a certain false self – just stop, take a deep breath and surrender to the moment. Trust that something truly good is about to happen.
• Listen. Zip it. Look the person in the eye, open your heart and take on the persona of a sponge. School’s in session and you’re the star pupil.
• Ask questions. Not just anemic, flaccid questions – but, real, heart-honest, determined ones. Take a moment to put on the cape of curiosity and become your own info-gathering superhero. Tuck away all you get because that’s the point of everything – to learn.
• The wisest people are simply learners who are committed to the understanding that they still have a lot to learn about everything – even and especially about those subjects they already have a lot of knowledge in.
• I have not arrived. I will never arrive. I will always be at the mercy of "there's more".
• I must stretch further, reach deeper...open wider and learn, learn, learn. Growth is the only thing worth pursuing. It is the only thing worth counting on.
Growth always means that we choose humility and speak our words seasoned - neither with pinches of salt nor grand delusion - but with grace. Meaning, don’t discount yourself like a worm, but don’t become a puffer fish like I did, either.
Accept yourself. Accept the point in your process you’re currently standing in and know that it’s OK. We are what we are at any given moment. May God use us regardless. May He use us because in this present minute we are the very best we can be, positioned to reflect HIS Perfection (never the chase of our own elusive perfection).
O! What a relief! I am good enough...because I am GROWING. #thankyouLord
From My Heart to Yours,
1. Where have I allowed unchecked brokenness to prevent me from truly learning new things?
2. Is there a person that I could offer compassion to for any possible brokenness that made them say or take on unpleasant attitude that ruined our interaction?
3. How can I make embracing growth, even when it doesn’t feel good at first, a conscious part of my life?
by © Priya Devalia 2017
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