The universe, in some sort of weirdly choreographed routine, has allowed me to spend days on end in bed with my computer, a sketchbook, and the remote control. To some, this sounds like a paradise. Nowhere to be, no one to see, nothing to do except be at peace with your thoughts and have the room to create. On the contrary, it’s led me to asking myself some important questions about my role. That’s right – you read right – my role. As a person, an artist, a blogger, you name it. After being removed from active participation in the world, I’m left wondering what is it I do for the world anyways. Like with any other dilemma I’ve had recently, the roads lead me back here to figure it all out.
I want to discuss the importance of preserving your own significance. It’s one of many in the myriad of mid-20s lessons everyone (particularly women) needs to learn, but I don’t think there is a formulaic solution. It’s a quiet conflict that happens within us and can bear greatness and determination as easily as it can surrender and settlement.
“Why does what I think matter?”
“How am I going to make a difference?”
“What makes me worthier than anyone else?”
Questions like these arise at some point in our adult life, particularly once we become more aware of what’s going on around the world. For most of our lives, it was all about you. Your grades, your friends, your family, your path. And then after a few years of swimming out in the big pond, you begin to realize just how small of a fish you really are. You see the bigger problems, you struggle to succeed, make a difference, and you try your darndest to achieve the ever-so-elusive state of “happiness”.
The problem is that there are no gold stars. There are no progress reports to tell you that you’re on the path to becoming happy or making a change in the world. Yes, you can receive a promotion or get married and all those amazing milestones in-between. But the quiet conflict I’m talking about rears its ugly head when you are coasting; there are just some periods of time – weeks, months, years, whatever – where nothing of great note will happen. You’ll continue to be you, doing all the things you do, in the routine you’ve crafted for yourself, but you start to wonder if any of it matters anymore. It is a natural return to stasis, which is completely normal. But because we are the humans we are, we morph it into the beginnings of failure or insignificance, like a plague of mediocrity sending us screaming in the other direction.
Here’s the thing, the silver lining that you must string along with you wherever you go. We’re all extraordinary at some point in our lives. It just doesn’t happen everyday. You’re lucky if it happens every month; it can’t possibly be a regular occurrence. But there are at least a few moments in your life when you have realized you are amazing or unique and your task, should you choose to recognize it or not, is to honor and cherish those feelings of validation. Keep it like a pocket watch, chained to your waist in order to remind you that it’s only a matter of time before you do something amazing, something worthwhile. Now that I think about it though… you’re actually extraordinary every single moment of your life. It may not always be evident, but it’s always there waiting to be seen again. It may sound silly or conceited, but the only way to sustain your significance is to tell yourself you are significant. Believe in your potential and allow it the breathing room to mature. Reinforce your importance to yourself so that the lulls of life do not lure you into negativity without a fight. Just remember,
You is kind. You is smart. You is important.
Before you count yourself out, just remember that there is no one else exactly like you and there is no one else that will do exactly as you do. That’s unique. That’s important.
Have you ever been through a period when you felt insignificant? What did you do to get through it and how to you keep from slipping back into negativity? How do you sustain your significance?
[ image via kevin russ ]