“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt
I can’t help but wonder whether or not Teddy R. would have been an active blogger in his day. I’ve read and re-read the above quote many times over the years, and it always provokes a new thought or idea in my mind.
I had the pleasure of speaking to my younger brother, Mark, this morning. Calling from Afghanistan, it’s always good to hear his voice and know he is doing well and in good hands. He made some on-point observations that I think were worth pondering. “Inferiority comes from comparison” he stated, also noting that our family has been more prone to doubt and fear of social/relational acceptance, mainly stemming from our homeschool upbringing. It’s never too late, or too early, to take steps toward working on the issues and pain-points we have in our lives.
While watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey, a show (among all the Housewife shows) I’ve been enjoying, I was a bit taken back while watching the people on the show visit a spiritual retreat in Arizona and deal with multiple sessions of counselors. Watching one of the Housewife sisters well up with tears as she admitted she’s struggled for years of being “good enough” was a real eye-opener.
Personally, I’ve blurred a fine line between wanting to be ‘good enough’ versus being my absolute best. Often, instead of focusing on the good qualities I have, I over think and over-cross-examine the areas I feel are weak or need work.
It may seem a bit odd to take this out in writing/blog format, but I need to start accepting, and embracing, the positive qualities in my life that are real, instead of putting focus on the negative elements/fears of my life that are not real.
I have a large heart. A really large heart. Over the past year, as I’ve spent time with my family and loved ones, I began to realize it has swelled and grown dramatically; prompting me to think more of others than I have in the past. Keeping my promises, commitments, and goals has also been something I’ve put more effort into.
What’s been a big impact on this has been my acceptance and embrace of the fact that I am very dearly loved. Loved for who I am, at this moment; not for who I will, might, or could be.
While it’s very hard for me to be away from those I love, as many of them are hundreds/thousands of miles away, I realize the reminder of being loved is far stronger than the fear of being separated from sight.
A lot of our day-to-day battles are fought alone. Behind my computer screen, I’ve fought for several years to build my business and provide an income for myself. Having loving hands and encouragement during the day-to-day is not the appropriate time as my fight exists outside of that space.
A memorable scene from Spartacus is right before Crixus and Spartacus enter the arena to fight Theocles; the unbeaten gladiator who helped hundreds of men meet their end. Staring into the eyes of his lover, Crixus tells Spartacus “Your woman…is she the reason you refuse to die?” Spartacus responds: “She is.” “Then perhaps there is something beyond glory.”
Whether it is my family, girlfriend, or friends, I’ve recognized the swell and driving force behind the heart is far more gratifying, motivating, and worthwhile than the superficial judgement we place on ourselves when we criticize and compare ourselves to others, or what we feel ‘society’ projects our lives ought to be like.
I’m far from rich in the financial sense. But, when it comes to love and those who care for me, I feel like the wealthiest man in the world.
Featured Image From Deviantart