Day 307 (Three-Hundred & Seven) of 365 days

In the world today, people are faced with having to prove themselves to others. They are stuck knowing that by their flaws and mistakes, the world is just ready to put them on a shelf just like everyone else.

Visualize climbing a thousand-foot ladder up the side of a steep mountain face. You desperately want to reach the plateau so you can rest, enjoy the view, and prove to everyone else that you are strong, determined, and superior. With each step up the ladder, the previous step disintegrates, making it impossible for you to climb down. You have no choice but to commit. As you scale the mountain, the climb gets steeper, and eventually inverted. You feel gravity working against you. Your arms get tired. Your progress grinds to a halt. You began the climb up this ladder at the speed of light, but halfway up you’ve slowed to a snail’s pace. You can’t possibly reach the top at this rate. But you also can’t get down unless you jump, and we all know that might be a pretty hard landing. You are stuck.

This is the life you build in the ceaseless pursuit of proving yourself right. You have committed to climbing this ladder made of your empty and untested beliefs which fall away with any sign of applied pressure. You’ve reached an untenable point, yet your ego insists that you continue. You committed to this climb out of vanity. And it has left you with a life devoid of truth and full of ego. You are trapped.

It’s human nature. We spend every waking minute plotting how we might show our boss that our way is the right way, hoping for a raise or a promotion. We spend all our time trying to prove to our colleagues that our ideas are better than everyone else’s, hoping for empty praise or useless validation. We take pride in backing the winner of the election and espouse all his/her prepackaged “ideas” upon our friends to feel superior. When we make a prediction or a bet, our ego and our perceived self-worth fluctuate with the outcomes, over which we have no control. When we get home, we put whatever energy we have left into showing our kids and our spouse the “correct” way to behave, and most of the time these efforts only prove to enhance their defiance. We live for that “told-you-so” moment.

This is the life of proving yourself wrong. This is the life most wouldn’t dare pursue. It’s harder, more time-consuming, more painstaking, but it guarantees that you will eventually get where you need to go. It is a life of putting effort into your thoughts, prioritizing truth, and setting the ego in its place. In seeking to prove yourself wrong, you cease to automatically believe everything you think. You stress-test every belief you have, and each belief you prove wrong is simply one less you have to carry around with you. Do this until all you are left with are the beliefs that simply cannot be proven wrong. These beliefs are the thousand-pound stones you will use to build your structure.

Who are you trying to prove yourself to? If you don’t think highly about yourself then you’ll rely on others to make up the difference. But the problem is it becomes an endless chase of more and more to constantly fill the need of feeling like you’re worthy.

So when you’re caught up in this cycle, of valuing others’ opinions over your own, what do you do? You challenge yourself. You step straight into the fear. The fear that you aren’t enough, that you aren’t worthy, and you show yourself that you are capable. It could be as small as just showing up for yourself at an event, or as big as radically changing something about your life. To prove yourself to yourself, you need to do something for yourself.

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