Friday, June 6, 2014

I'm too (fill in the blank) to be (fill in the blank)

Meryl Streep once said, "I believed I was too ugly to be an actress."

Thank goodness that hadn't stopped her from doing what she really loved (and is pretty good at, too).

It's amazing how often we judge ourselves, or let others judge us, and then internalize all these judgments that sooner or later would become our truths. That we're somehow limited. More often than not, though, these are not true limits, but the limits we set for ourselves, probably starting from a very young age when all the people who looked up to (parents, relatives, siblings, friends, teachers, so on and so forth) started to tell us what we were and what we should be.

I can't tell you how many times I have, half-jokingly, said I would never become an astronaut. There is some "truth" in it, based on my own judgment of myself: I have vertigo, I can't even run a 2K race without puking, blah blah blah.  LIMITS.  I set myself some rather lofty limits based on what my own assessment (with external input) of who and what I could or couldn't be.

But the real fact is:  I NEVER tried out to be an astronaut.  NEVER.

So how would I know for sure?

I don't.

I almost quit being a writer after I'd received more than 60 rejections.

Funny thing is we really don't know what our limits are until we really push ourselves, and most of us don't push ourselves. Sometimes not at all.

The truth is, even those limits can be pushed further away with practice and perseverance. I just did a 7-mile hike and I felt great afterwards - AT MY AGE. I didn't puke. I've sailed enough that I hardly have seasickness anymore. I used to puke after bench-pressing 100 lbs of weight. Now I can easily do 200. I felt embarrassed with my command of English and accent when I first came to the US. And now I write English-language novels and do public speaking. I have been published, and am now writing my third book. I feel so great with my body and mind that , in fact, I am starting to think:  I CAN be an astronaut if I want to. Why not?

It's amazing how our mind can hinder us, stop us, butcher us if we allow it. It's even more amazing how our mind can push us through these limitations and achieve great things -- all we need is a bit more time, effort, and perseverance. But most important, STOP listening to your inner critic who, like a nasty gremlin, keeps saying, "no you can't. no you can never. no. no. no."

To it  I now say, "Fuck you."