Something changed in me in the past year. Somehow, I stopped caring so much about stuff I think I “should” be doing. For example, I should be having a singing career that matches my talent. I should have a clean and tidy house. I should better myself. I should read more. I should practice all my crafts and talents and become an expert in each and every one of them.
Sounds harsh and unrealistic? I think so too. But somehow, in the back of my mind, I believed all these things to be true. Even worse, I tied my sense of self worth into achieving all these things, or at the very least striving for them. But I’m not doing it anymore. I quit.
I’m trying to think of what made that change for me. One thing for certain was a remark from a good friend of mine: “You don’t have to always actively try to better yourself. You should trust that when you know something is better, you will naturally choose that option more and more often.” This really clicked with me. I had been trying to better myself (not being so perfectionistic, being more assertive, respecting my boundaries, not caring so much about what other people think), and it was occupying my mind very often.
I was analysing situations, actively trying to strategise, finding better ways to deal with everything coming my way. It was exhausting. And that remark from my friend gave me a reason to free myself of all that. And perhaps the secret to not caring so much is… well… not caring so much about caring so much?
Anyways, since then I have been feeling much lighter and more balanced. So it must be helping somehow. It is not the only thing that is helping, though.
My singing career is another hot item on my inner list of What I Must Achieve. Since I have amazing musical talent (ugh), I must have an equally great musical career, right? It hurts to type that out loud. But I believed it. And it sabotaged me as well. There was so much going on in my life that I didn’t really notice or appreciate because I had my eye on the ultimate prize…
After many years of stress and struggle I finally let go of the dream of having a great singing career. It was an illusion anyway. There are so many things about that career that would have been bad for me: being out on the road all the time, working late, having no schedule, having little financial stability… but the singing would have made up for it somehow. And meeting other inspiring musicians.
I decided I didn’t need this career. I would be able to sing, and, who knows, perform, without having it. I would be able to enjoy music without having an audience. I would be able to enjoy the company of inspiring colleagues without that career. And when I realised that, I found out that I didn’t really want that career, but that I somehow felt that I should have it, to prove that I was good enough, like some kind of badge to make me believe it.
Good enough… it’s a recurring thing. That’s where the musical career ties in with my self esteem. And it shouldn’t. I’m valuable just being me, without looking at “achievements”. I’m good enough, because I as a person am worthwhile.
And with that thought, everything shifts. Everything that seemed so very important just scurries away into the shadows, because it’s just not that important. I can still enjoy singing, performing, and all those other things, but they don’t define me anymore. This is a huge step for me. I’m not quite there yet, though, because I still overlook my boundaries too often, which indicates that I don’t see my own worth enough.
I think that my new normal includes starting with nothing, expecting nothing, and enjoying the good things that I encounter. I’m not quite ready yet to detach from human beings in that same way, but I think I should do that as well. Not stop loving them, but letting go of control (which is an illusion anyway) and start trusting. Now that I know this, I hope I will do better.
What a journey this life is.