Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Knowledge is Power

In my blog yesterday, I wrote about my goals for this coming year. One of them was to narrow down the focus of the things I'm working on. Basically, you can't do all things well for all people, and when you try, there are two possible results. One is that you do everything ok for everyone, but nothing is great. The other is that you do manage to do well for everyone else, but you don't manage to do well for yourself. Simply put, it's burnout. I've found I usually end up with the second result. So, this year, I need to pare down. I need to focus my business on more of a niche. I need to figure out a more specific path for my mood disorder/mental health awareness efforts. I need to figure out specifically where I want to be and why. Then, I need to start creating and following a path that takes me there. Note: this doesn't mean everything must go according to that plan - sometimes you need to sit back and wait to see what the next steps should be. But it means that I need to focus in and pay attention; make sure I'm walking one foot in front of the other and not simply in a circle.

In narrowing down, I have to look at a subject that is one of the most painful for me to swallow - letting go. I have learned over the years, that sometimes, stepping away from a situation is the best thing you can do. It might be a friendship, a project, a job, a relationship, or something else that for whatever reason isn't going the way that you hoped. I've also learned that sometimes, even when you know that you could make this work, that you could be the best for this person/job/project/etc, that others might not see that. And finally, I've learned that this has to be ok. My confidence used to always come from others. A breakup, not getting a promotion, a fight with a friend or a friendship that dissolved would cripple me. I'd think I wasn't good enough. What was I doing wrong?  What if I conformed to exactly the image that they wanted? What if I worked even harder (though those who know me realize that this might not even be possible - I give 150% to anything I dedicate myself to)? I often felt like the dancing bear in the circus saying "look at me, choose me, pick me!".  Then one day, I realized that the reason the dancing bear in the circus is so entertaining is because it looks ridiculous. And I stopped putting my faith in myself in other people's hands.

This isn't to say that a breakup, not getting a promotion, a fight with a friend doesn't matter to me. It does, because I am a type A personality and a fixer by nature, and I want to be able to make everything work. But it means that I have to now step back and say, "You know what - maybe the reason this isn't going 'according to plan' isn't something I can do anything about. I know I'm good enough. I know I'm worthy of this. But everyone may not see things the way I see them. I can try to show them, but I refuse to be the dancing bear any longer. If they don't see it that way, then they don't. Perhaps one day they will. And perhaps then we'll agree. Or perhaps, I'll be in a different place and no longer need them to."

I've learned the hard way that sometimes the best option is to step away and re-evaluate. It doesn't mean throwing a hissy fit and storming out when I don't get my way. It means taking a step back and closely examining the situation in a different light. It means valuing myself enough not to sit there and say "oh look at me, watch me, pick me" and look ridiculous doing so. Finally, I've learned that I will know when the time is right. It will just come to me. I'll know when to keep trying, and when to call it a day. It's not giving up. It's knowing the best course of action, at the best time. It's having enough confidence to know you're enough even if others don't necessarily see it, and realizing that this internal confidence may have to be enough. And when it comes to living with a healthy mind and a positive self esteem, that knowledge is such personal power.

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