So, I lost my first fight. It’s a painful feeling, working relentlessly for months just for ten minutes of work--the most excruciating and exhilarating 10 minutes of your life thus far.
But this isn't a post about my fight. It's about the fact that I noticed, when my fight was over and all was said and done, I felt shame. I was embarrassed. I wasn't just upset that I lost, I felt like a fool for even trying. I cried the whole car ride home and wished I had never told anyone about my hopes and dreams and wanted to crawl into a hole and hide from the world. But why???
I had just done something incredible and really, really, REALLY hard. Why was I anything but proud of myself? Why was I afraid of what people would say? Because I believed I had to be perfect. My story was supposed to be a happy, perfect, successful one. We all adhere to the very apparent yet silent rule that we can't make mistakes or have imperfections or experience failure in order to be "normal" and most certainly to ever be "successful". We've all traded in reality for a highlight reel; a shallow, contrived version of life, hidden behind the facade of perfection.
It's definitely safer that way. It's much safer to never put yourself out there because, I promise, you will never get hurt. If you never try, you will most certainly never fail. But if you try, at anything, you're going to fail eventually. You are going to work incredibly hard at something and not achieve the result you so badly desired. And I'm here to tell you, you should never be ashamed of that.
There is no shame in trying. There is no shame in trying as hard as you can and still not succeeding. There is no shame in being vulnerable, being real, and being honest with who you are and what you want out of life. There is no shame in being human. The fact that I felt shame so deeply for not meeting this idea of "perfection" tells me that other people feel it too; because we're not different. We're imperfect. We're all just people, trying desperately to pretend we don't feel ashamed for our lack of perfection.
I LOVED every breathless, painful, confusing and overwhelming second of that fight. It confirmed for me that I want nothing more than to be the best in the world at this sport, no matter how long it takes. And I'm willing to put in the work, the hours, the money, the losses, and the wins that come with that. But I'll be damned if I ever let myself feel ashamed for trying, ever again.
So whatever you're working towards, pursue it wholeheartedly. Fail. Learn. Improve. Take pride in your effort, in your vulnerability, in your imperfection--and never ever, ever be ashamed for trying. For any of it.
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