Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Real Me: trusting mistakes

Sitting on a plane and sifting through my entertainment choices, I got excited when they had an episode of Sex and the City. When it comes to SATC, I will watch any given episode, because within it lies a wealth of everyday knowledge that fares beyond the sexual realm…

This episode was called “The Real Me”. Carrie is invited to walk the runway for a fashion show. Despite everyone telling her she is ‘fabulous’ and will do well, she doesn’t feel it and laments “I’m not a model, I’m a real person”. She ends up taking a big stack on the runway…

All while I was watching, I was thinking about two concepts; having trust and making mistakes. And then this episode was like a lightening bolt which sealed the deal and really drove home the impact that these two things ultimately have on being yourself. Let me explain…

For a long time, I was afraid to make mistakes. Yes mistakes happened on their own, but I didn’t actively seek out challenges and opportunities (and with them the potential for more mistakes) because I was scared. Scared of failing. Scared of how a mistake would expose a part of the Real Me, which I wasn’t comfortable with. I was scared of my own flaws, and even more so, showing them to the world.

So on Saturday, I had a really great friend fire at me something that hit the heart of my failure-avoiding ways: “Feed your faith and not your fear”.
I was anticipating the failures and successes of any opportunities I undertook or were thrown my way, but I didn’t have trust and faith to just see them as experience. I let the positive and negative define and box me in, and so I was in my comfort zone of taking calculated risks with predictable results.

So after this conversation, I firmly decided on one thing: this trip will be one in which I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and potentially make a fool of myself, because somehow I believe it will strengthen me. I realise all this time, I was afraid of making mistakes. NOT making a mistake and not doing anything actually hurts you 10x more then making a mistake and looking stupid. It’s like my skating on Sunday. I fell over and it looked horrible (the kind you think “Oh that can’t be good…”), but when I got up I was OK. Barely a scratch.
Sometimes we look at our failures and see them worse than they are. Sometimes we just have to do stupid things and realise they aren’t so bad. And if we are willing to look hard enough we will see that they make us stronger. Because they allow us to see ourselves, flaws and all, and appreciate that we are the sum of the good and the bad of it all.

…So after having flashing cameras and an entire fashion-worshipping audience capture her epic fashion faux-pas, Carrie then gets back up and says “In the real world, when real people fall down, they get straight back up and keep walking”. She then proceeds to stand up finish her walk and do a hi-five with Heidi Klum.

Hell yes, real people just keep walking! I think both experience and trust in life’s lessons exposes us to our strengths and flaws, so that it can guide us to the Real person inside. And knowing the Real You is the greatest strength you can possess.

SoulSurfer © 16 August 2011 at 5.17pm


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