My head is so full of what ifs. What if I fail. What if I suck. What if they find out I’m not really qualified to sit at the grown-up table for Thanksgiving.
Seriously, that last one is a big concern. Give me another 20 years and I think I’ll still feel that way.
Anyway. All of these what ifs. The funny thing is that every what if I’ve ever taken out and shown to someone else has elicited this exact result: me too! And here’s how I came to the radical notion of absolute acceptance. While I read it in a bunch of books and intellectualized it, it took having raw conversations with trusted friends about the most frightening of my boogeymen to discover that even when the boogeymen didn’t overlap, no one pointed a finger at me and laughed. I had to get dirty with the concept to really get it on a kinetic level.
I don’t know that I’ve arrived just yet, but I’m close enough to see how incredibly beautiful the people in my life are. Not just physically, but in all the things they do to bridge the gap between who they are and who they want to be. How badly they want to be able to give the whole world to their kids, to their loves. How hard they will work to make everything alright for someone else.
Really, just try to walk around with a hyper-awareness of how much energy it takes for all of us to get out of bed some days. It starts to hurt, all that beauty. I only get to witness it when I stop obsessing about how I fall so short of everything that I think I should be. So maybe it’s selfish, this radical acceptance thing, because what it gets me is the room to see what I think most people miss.
Still, I have those what ifs. I don’t think they will ever go away and that’s okay. I’ve just added some new what ifs to my list for when they gang up on me. Call this my list of spies and traitors seeded in with the enemy:
- What if no one is looking?
- What if no one is keeping score?
- What if the voice that keeps telling me I’m not good enough is a dirty rotten liar?
- What if I don’t need permission?
- What if showing up is the only standard that matters?
- What if good enough isn’t even part of the measure?
- What if things just are?
- What if I judge good and bad by useful and gets in the way?
- What if I don’t have to deserve love to be on the receiving end of it?
- What if I go with what I’m sure of instead of what I’m afraid of?
- What if I let go of what happened and start with where I am?
- What if everything behind me is okay because I was doing the best I could with what I had?
- What if I give myself permission, even if it is just for five minutes a day, to be where I am and not be angry at myself for not being further along?