Tag Archives: choices

Judging Your Self-Worth

I am feeling a bit uneasy these days.  Things are quiet.  …Too quiet.  I have an all too familiar pain in my stomach and anxiety levels are beginning to rise.  I swore this time that I would be prepared—that I wouldn’t let myself get bogged down by the stress of it all—but once again I find myself here.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am dangerously close to, and painfully aware of the impending frustrations of… finals week.

Ok, it is really not that dramatic.  Or at least, it shouldn’t be.  But for some reason I have gotten really good over the years at stressing out.  I don’t really know how it happened; and there is really no logical reason for me to be at this level of stress.  I always end up doing just fine on my finals.

I will say this: I found finals week to be a breeze in high school—and not just because the work was easier back then.  Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I went to a high school with over 3,000 people.  In a crowd that size, it was really easy to slide under the radar.  I never realized that a large group of people could be such a security blanket.  Now?  I will be graduating from my university in a class of about 25 students.

So what’s the big deal?  Going to a university of this size has actually been an extremely positive experience for me.  I know the administration; I know the faculty.  One-on-one time with my professors is not only possible; it is virtually inevitable.  And the community of students is something I would not trade for anything.  I really do love my school.  It just often makes it very difficult for me to be “comfortable.”  It’s a lot harder to slide under the radar in a crowd of 25 than it is in one of 3,000.

You see, at a large school, I had the ability to do less than my full potential because I could comfort myself with the fact that I was still doing better than a good majority of the other students in my class (I know.  A terrible way of looking at things, right?).  At a school of my size now, I know the names, faces, and general history of everyone in my class.  Talk about pressure.

Yet I know that this is one of the major reasons why God had me go to this school rather than a larger university.  It wasn’t because He wanted me to compare myself to other people and judge my worth based on the differences.  It was because He wanted to show me this part of myself and help me rise above it, by learning to be inspired by the achievements of the people around me and be proud of who I am in my own right.

Easier said than done?  Of course.  But I think, with the help of about 25 friends, I am at least beginning to learn.

Oh PS – I like to think that I write this blog for actual people to read it.  As such, I would love to hear your suggestions for future topics you would be interested in reading what I have to say about.  And as always, you can ask me anything you’d like.  Feel free to use the form below to contact me for anything.

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Is This Real Life?

Ever find yourself sitting at home on a Friday night with nothing better to do but mindlessly meander the pages of Facebook? Don’t feel bad; we’ve all been there (and probably more times than we’d like to admit to). When boredom strikes, social media sites like Facebook or Twitter can seem like the perfect antidote.

I remember sites like this started gaining popularity when I was in my first couple years of high school. What seemed like a neat idea to begin with sometimes left me longing for simpler times, when young people could leave the vanity and meaningless comparisons behind when the bell rang at 3:00pm.

Maybe you can relate. Today, it’s way too easy to look at someone’s Facebook— which by its very nature is only going to show you the highlights of an event or individual— and think they have the life you’ve always wanted. As if being a young person wasn’t already challenging, now we have a stage to potentially play out the drama of high school for the rest our digital lives.

We love using our Facebook pages to define ourselves for everyone else to see, but no matter how many times we update our status or find different pages to “Like” (and maybe “Dislike” someday soon, if we get our way), we are more than a collection of facts and personal preferences. We are more than the sum total of the 500 pictures we are tagged in on our profiles. As Blessed John Paul II put it in his Letter to Families:

Human beings are not the same thing as the images proposed in advertising and shown by the modern mass media. They are much more, in their physical and psychic unity, as composites of soul and body, as persons. They are much more because of their vocation to love

This vocation to love is something we all have, regardless of age, job, or Facebook status. Maybe no one will call you to go out on Friday night, but God is always calling on you to love. Let’s stop comparing and start loving.

The Next Step

I’m stealing the bit of wisdom coming to you in this post from a homily I heard while attending mass at school about a month or so ago.  All succeeding praises and admiration will defer to Fr. Gerard (and of course the Holy Spirit speaking through him).

I have said it before and I will say it again, the future can be a scary thing.  It sometimes is so stressful to address all of the questions the future poses.  What will I do to earn a living?  Will I love my job or will I just do it to make some money—or both?  Even worse, sometimes we think we have everything planned out for the next five years, and then a terrible thing happens to take it away from us.  Maybe we didn’t get that deal we were hoping for at work, or maybe we lost our job completely.  Maybe that Ms. Perfect you had your heart set on marrying in a few years decides she just wants to be friends (ouch!). Whatever the reason, life always finds a way to serve us up a heaping plate of uncertainty.  If you’re anything like me, you often find this accompanied by a considerably-sized side dish of anxiety, just to make things interesting.

Unlike fear, which has the ability to motivate us to take action when needed, anxiety is something that brings with it unnecessary stress.  Planning for the future is important and sometimes necessarily stressful; but there is a reason for the saying “one step at a time.”  Just like those of us with shorter legs do not have the option of leaping up staircases five steps at a time, so too do us limited human beings not always have the luxury of seeing the next few steps in our life.  Even if we think we can plan out every detail of the future, sometimes life just decides to put a big clumsy kid in front of us to block our view or knock us down mid-ascent.  The cool thing about staircases is that you don’t need to get from step 1 to step 5 in one swift motion.  All you need to do is focus on the step in front of you.

As always, prayer is powerful.  Pray often and stay close to God; live always in His plan.  If you have the confidence you are living the life He has laid out for you, you can have certainty that things will work out for the best, even if at the moment you can’t see how.

Are You Who You Want to Be?

Me and One of My Many Adorable Nieces 🙂

 

From the time we are in kindergarten, we are often told that we can be whatever we want to be, that we can do whatever we want to do, so long as we set our minds to it.  Accordingly, we start to dream.  We start to dream big.  The world is our oyster!  We can do anything we want to do!

Unfortunately, I think that sometimes having this drilled into our minds over and over again has a little bit of a downside.  As a little kid, hearing “You can do anything you want so long as you set your mind to it” is meant to inspire us to dreams of greatness.  Yet in order to hold onto the “options” of doing anything we want, we often end up acting pretty mediocre.  The fact of the matter is that no one can do everything, which means that at some point we have to stop thinking we can do anything and just decide on doing something.

This is scary to a lot of people in my generation.  We love to “keep our options open.”  In college, we put off declaring a major until the very last second.  Then, we simply choose the most generic one that we can do most anything with.  We think that by acting this way, we will be more free in the future to do whatever we want to do, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

No one needs to hear this lesson more than me.  I don’t even like to make the decision on what restaurant to eat at for dinner, let alone one that involves something as important and big as my future.  For a while, I thought that by doing this I was protecting myself from making a wrong decision, but I was really just hurting myself even more by not allowing myself to develop opinions of my own.

I have such admiration for those that have the courage to make decisions, even if they end up being the wrong ones. It’s not that I think we should be rash or careless in our decision making.  Of course we should weigh the options and never do anything that goes against what we know is right.  What I now know is that when it comes down to it, you can learn a lot more about where you want to be by taking a wrong turn than by standing still.

Missed Opportunites

We often hear it said that it is never too late to start over.  Well, not to be a negative Nancy, but apart from looking nice on a motivational poster or as something “inspiring” to post on a Facebook status, this saying doesn’t always have the most practical meaning for my life.  I’m only 21 years old and sometimes (and I know I’m not alone in this) I just get the feeling that I’ve missed it.  I’ve missed that one golden opportunity I was born for to really do something with my life.  I’ve missed the chance to be who I was born to be.

There are a number of reasons we can point to for why we “missed out” on who we think we were supposed to be.  We were too busy daydreaming in class.  We were too insecure to actually speak up and be apart of that project we could have worked on.  Or maybe we made poor choice after poor choice and were so far off of the path we needed to be on by the time our golden opportunity came around that we stood no real chance of grabbing it.

I thought it appropriate to post about this today because today is Holy Thursday—3 days before Easter.  Today begins the commemoration of the greatest story of victory over tragedy in human history.  In fact my inspiration for writing this post came from one of my favorite lines from the liturgy of my favorite mass of the year, the Easter Vigil:

O Happy Fault
O Necessary Sin of Adam,
Which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

As a basic part of our human nature, it is not at all common to refer to faults as “happy.”  Mistakes shouldn’t be “happy,” and we often wish they weren’t at all “necessary” either.  But when it comes to the plan for our lives, God knows what He is doing.  It’s not that we shouldn’t try always to do the right thing, or that we should look at our mistakes as no big deal.  To understand it that way would be to miss the point.

The point is that when we do make mistakes, we aren’t supposed to collapse to the ground in despair and tell ourselves we will never amount to anything.  We are to look to Adam, whose mistake was so great that he brought sin upon all of humanity.  Look what God was able to do through that sin in giving us His Son, Jesus.  Now imagine what God can do with the mistakes and “missed opportunities” in your life.

…Whoever said we only get one golden opportunity anyway?