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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Making a "to-don't list"

I recently read this post and this response post (by the lovely and talented Bethany Grow – please do yourself a favor and check out Bethany's blog! She’s completely adorable and totally amazing.) and I found that the topic really resonated with me. As a middle child in a large family, I have spent my life comparing myself to others. Within my immediate family alone, there are musical prodigies, academic overachievers, inventors, Marines, philosophers, bakers, etc. I have always struggled with trying to measure up to their levels, completely forgetting the fact that I am a different person, and therefore have different strengths and weaknesses.

This constant comparison to others, while sometimes inspiring and motivating, is more often than not just completely exhausting. And I’m realizing that I’ve spent so much time thinking about all the ways that other people are better than I am that I have lost sight of the ways in which I am amazing in my own right. So after reading the two posts above, I decided I’m going to make my own list of things that I don’t have to do, and I’m going to release myself to be okay with that.

So…*big deep breath*….here’s my “to-don’t list”, at least as it stands right now.

-          I am going to stop feeling bad about being not stylish and cute ALL THE FREAKING TIME. I will accept the fact that sometimes, especially with my life at the moment, just getting out of bed and changing out of pajamas is enough, and I will not beat myself up over the fact that my hair may not won’t be perfect and I may not even have on any makeup.

-          I will not try to make lists of everything in the world, especially to-do lists. I wish I could be a lister, because it is always so calming and centering when I do it, but more often than not, I forget about it, and then even when I do make to-do lists, I end up feeling silly about what I put on it for some reason, which is just ludicrous, but true, all the same. I will still continue to make lists as often as I am able, but I will not force myself to do it just for the sake of doing it, and I will stop feeling silly about things that I put on my lists, since they’re not for anyone but me, anyway.

-          I will stop trying to turn myself into a runner. I hate running. I always have. It hurts every single part of my body, and not just while I’m running, either, but for days afterwards. It’s everything I hate about trying to be fit and healthy. So instead of pressuring myself to become a runner, I will endeavor to simply go on more walks, or swim more often, and call it a day.

-          I will accept the fact that I am not an amazing baker and cake decorator…yet. Every time I bake, I always end up feeling terrible that my cupcakes don’t look like the professional ones on shows like Cupcake Wars or something, and I get all disheartened for a while. I am going to accept that I am a beginner, that I am teaching myself everything, and that it will take time for me to get good. And in the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the taste of the cupcakes, and not worry so much about the look of them.
-          I will stop telling people that I will call them. I hate talking on the phone, and that is okay. I will  instead respond to people via email, since that’s so much more comfortable for me, and I will stop telling myself that I need to just buck up and deal with phone conversations because everyone else is so good at them.

There are a lot more things that I probably should be adding to this list. However, the last thing on the list is that I will accept that I am a work in progress. I will not be able to become immediately good at all the things I would like to do just for myself, just as I will not be able to snap my fingers and immediately be able to let go of everything that has been in my head for the last twenty-five years.  I would encourage anyone to put some serious thought towards making a list like this for themselves, and freeing themselves from unnecessary pressure to be something or someone they are not, just because someone else does it so well. Oscar Wilde said it best – “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

What are some things you would put on your “to-don’t list”?

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