It took less than two laps for me to turn that feeling into a pity party for myself.
She was actually quite a good swimmer. She was clearly faster and more expert at swimming than I. Within a couple of laps she had caught up to me. Another lap later, she had passed me.
Every four to five laps after that, she was passing me again.
What was my problem? How could a woman who was noticeably older and in her own words, "very slow", crushing me in the pool?
I have always loved to swim, but it’s only been in the last four months that I have made time in my weekly routine to do this past-time. I have been super proud of myself for slowly increasing my swim distance over the last four months to what is now just over a mile in one session.
I have shared lanes with other swimmers as I have progressed in my journey: some have been faster and others slower. Knowing I was a beginner going for endurance and distance, I didn’t mind sharing a lane. I managed to stay competitive with myself and was proud of how I was advancing.
What made the difference on this day?
This woman’s self-declared diminishing of her talent triggered my own insecurities. If she was as very slow as she said, why was she swimming circles around me? If she was “very slow”, what the heck was I? Downright sluggish was one of the first things to come to mind. Slower than a turtle quickly followed that thought!
It takes me a good forty-five minutes to swim my mile and an eighth. Instead of relaxing into the meditative state that I normally sink into with each lap, my monkey brain was working overtime that day, berating me for not moving faster.
It took me all of that time to realize that her declaration was her “stuff” that she was dealing with and not something that was a reflection of me at all. But as I was showering and getting dressed after finishing my swim, the real “aha” moment occurred.
How many times I have done just the same thing as she did?
How many times have I not owned my greatness or talents for something I did, and in return made someone else feel diminished or less than?
When we own our greatness, we give others permission to own theirs.
We all shine brighter when we own our gifts. We are happier, more connected and more accepting of others when we acknowledge the truth of whom we are.
Let me ask you this: who would you want to hang out with more? Someone who beats themselves up all the time and lives in a state of “I am not enough”, or someone who lives from a place having a heart full of joy and gratitude for who they are?
I have lived in both worlds – in fact, most of my life was spent in the world of “I am not enough.” I had some wonderful friends, some of whom lived in the same state of not feeling enough on their own too. You know the saying, misery loves company? Well, that can be very true and I had quite a full “house” of people who thoroughly enjoyed sharing their woes.
Now, that I have put the past, including my pregnancy losses and those woebegone friends behind me, I have found a place of being where not only am I enough, but where I am pretty darn excellent at a number of things. I would rather live in this place of excellence and teach my children to reside in this same place of knowing that they are pretty freaking awesome too, than that place of feeling “less than” where I spent a good part of my life.
How about you? What are your gifts? Where is your greatness? And are you hiding those amazing talents?
Maybe it is in your smile, your laugh, or a twinkle in your eyes. Maybe it is a talent for acting, for being smart, for athletic prowess or sense of humor.
Whatever it is, will you take that in? Will you give your children, your friends, your partner, and your family permission to shine brightly too?
Take my word for it – standing firmly in the knowledge of your own greatness is THE best place in the world to live!