“You can be anything you want.” Empowering, right?
One of my all-time favorite books discusses how my generation grew up with feminist mothers “empowering” us with this very statement, day in and day out.
My mom taught me this. Did yours?
But instead of empowering us, that simple little statement set off a lifelong quest for perfectionism. Instead of empowering us, it froze us.
Because while they were saying “You can be anything”, what we heard was, “You have to be everything.”
We misunderstood their message—big time.
We took the logic a few steps too far, thinking: If I can do or be or have anything, something is wrong if I don’t do or be or have everything.
I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly what I made it mean.
We must have it all and do it all. And it should look easy and effortless, while we’re at it.
It’s no wonder we put so much pressure on ourselves. It’s no wonder that as adults running a household or a business or both, trying to take care of ourselves and God knows how many other people, we still feel like we’re not doing enough.
It’s no wonder we still strive for perfection in so many insidious, innocent-looking ways in our daily lives and silently beat ourselves up for not being better than we are.
So, in case you were under the same confusing spell I was for the past 20- or 30-some years, rest assured.
You can be or do or have anything you want, but you don’t have to be or do or have anything. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
It’s up to you. Figure out what’s most important to you and do that. Then line everything else up behind it.
It’s about quality, not quantity.
It’s about personal fulfillment, definitely not perfection.
And it’s about doing the right things for you, not doing everything for everyone.