07 March 2011

Not Good, but Great

"I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself. I will be rich by myself, and not by borrowing." 
~Michel de Montaigne

I got stuck in the muck of not good enough. 

Quicksand warning sign Texel 2004
By Ralf Schulze from Koblenz, Germany, from Wikimedia Commons
I waded into a pit filled with quicksand that looked deceptively like my studio but held the promise of so much more because I could see the oasis that others were splashing around in and I wanted to be there, too. Have you ever felt that way?

There were tantalizing opportunities and exciting adventures just out of my grasp, swinging from vines above my head. I spent so much time looking up at their juicy goodness that I forgot to look down and see where I was standing in my own place and time. So I got stuck.

I couldn't move forward and I couldn't back out. I struggled.
Every time I wiggled a bit and twisted this way and that to reach for those experiences and test my focus I mired myself deeper. Wanting to go where others are leading rather than following my own path without regard for those distractions started to pull me down. I could see what others were doing and I wanted that.

Envy is a tantalizing mistress.Always just out of my reach and wouldn't you know it? She is no help in getting unstuck.
There is never enough time in a day to do it all. It is too easy to say yes, and dang hard to say no. It is my disregard for the necessary boundaries of saying no that caused me to put added weight on my own shoulders. These weights started to pull me down into the muck. I started to say mucky things like, "I'm not good enough" or  "I will never be able to catch up" or "I wish I could be more (fill in the blank)." But what was I trying to catch up to and why did I want to be something that I am not?

The muck brings out the yuck in you. I started to think about all those things that I am not good at. But then I thought, hey wait a minute! I am great at other things! So I started a list....

  • I am not good with math, but I am great with words.
  • I am not good at keeping my house clean, but I am great at laughing with my children.
  • I am not good at making Jell-O, but I am great at making Chocolate Chunk Banana Nut Crunch Bread.
  • I am not good at putting things away, but I am great at making a Jenga-esque mountain of dishes drying in the sink.
  • I am not good at filing paperwork, but I am great at writing thank you notes to my customers.
  • I am not good at putting a limit on my spending, but I am great at finding unbelievable bargains (like the Chico's jacket I picked up for... $2.38 the other day! Score!).
  • I am not good at folding the laundry (see the comment above about putting things away), but I am great at changing the sheets on the bed (even if it should happen more than it probably does!).
  • I am not good at playing basketball, but I am great at cheering.
  • I am not good at dancing (so says Tiny Dancer), but I am great at singing.
  • I am not good at making jewelry every day, but I am great at staying up until the wee hours doing creative things.
  • I am not good at washing my face every night, but I am great at moisturizing when I do.
  • I am not good at arriving early, but I am great at staying late.
  • I am not good at focusing sometimes, but I am great at listening.
  • I am not good at reading all the books that I buy, but I am great at loaning them out to people.
  • I am not good at estimating my time for a project, but I am great at getting the details right.
  • I am not good at sticking to a movement regime (the 'e' word makes me shudder), but I am great at making pledges to myself that I will be. 
  • I am not good at taking on more than I can handle, but I am great at finishing what I start (even if it takes me forever to do it!). 
  • I am not good at following directions, but I am great at figuring things out.

I want to get into the mindset of 'relishing in my uniqueness' as my friend Heather so wonderfully put it. I am not here to compete with others for anything... not the neighborhood I live in, or the virtual street corner I hang out on. I need to remind myself that I am content with who I am and what I am doing and although I would like to control the plan and where I am going, I need to stop and remember that I am unfolding exactly as I am meant to be.

I am not here to set the pace for anyone but myself, even if I have set that pace a bit too frantic for my own tastes lately, thank you very much. I need to take time for me, to relax, to reconnect, to revive (and I will this coming weekend!). I need to remember that it matters more if I look inward and set my internal compass to point me in the right direction than it does if I am following close behind a pace car that I am not driving. Because I know that I may not be good enough in some areas, but I am great in others. And that is exactly who I am meant to be.

So, what about you?
What are you not good at... but great at?
Do tell!

Oh, and before I forget! Lucky #7 comment is the redemption winner from the last post! (That's you, Deb, of Green Shoot Jewellry Designs in the UK!) You win one of my 'simple truths' pendants because you took the time to add your email address so we could continue the conversation!

Email me (enjoytheday{at}tesoritrovati{dot}com) your contact information and your choice of either one of the pendants for sale in my Etsy shop (retail value $12 or less) or what you would like to see on a custom one and I shall make it happen!

Enjoy the day!


one-eared pig said...

Wonderful post!

I am not good at willpower, but I am very good at cleaning up my messes (mental *and* physical).

Alice said...

What a great post! I'm going to have to remember this because nearly every day I find myself stuck in the same muck as you.

I am not good at saying no, but when I say yes I'm good at giving it 110 percent.

I'm not good at promoting my own jewelry, but I am good at making it.

Goodness, I could go on and on here. Thanks again for such a great post!

Patty said...

What a wonderful, honest post! It's such a blessing to be able to see the bright side. Here goes.
I am not good at paperwork, but I am great at recycling paper (eventually).
I am not good at cleaning regularly, but I am great at occasional blasts of deep cleaning.
I am not good at ignoring salty snacks in the house, but I am great at making healthy meals.
I am not good at making detailed packing lists before trips but I am great at creating delicious menus.
I am not good at telephoning friends regularly but I am great at keeping up with them by email.

Thanks for sharing your healthy outlook, Erin! You are perfect, as you were meant to be.

Barbara Bechtel said...

You often have a way of writing just what I need to hear!

I'm terrible at starting things and not finishing them but I'm great at coming up with ideas!

Inspired by your jello comment,
I can't make pudding to save my life (instant or cooked) but I can make a mean curry for a white girl.

I great at washing clothes, not so great at putting them away.

Penny said...

I believe that Barbara mentioned that sometimes you write just what we need to hear. Erin you do have a way with words and speak so eloquently and bring all our thoughts to the forefront. Why do we do often compare ourselves to others and think less of ourselves and not rejoice in our own uniqueness and all the things we are great at.

Great post!!!

For My Sweet Daughter said...

Loved this post Erin. You are also great a knowing what to say in follow ups. Every comment I have ever left you is responded to in the most sincere way.
I am not good at cleaning up but I am great at making piles of like objects. Lol
I am not good at laundry but I am great at playing tea party on the living room floor.
I am not good at dieting but I am great at laughing with my friends, family and clients.
I am not good at pricing and listing my jewelry but I am great at making tons and tons of it!
Shannon C

Gardanne said...

What you said, we sound a lot alike. Especially about the housekeeping one, when housekeeping is as much fun as playing with my torch I will be a better housekeeper.

Brandi said...

This is a gorgeous sentiment, Erin, and one that absolutely resonated with me today. Today, I've had a hard time with envy and not-so-positive thoughts. Today, I've looked at others' work and felt less than with my own. But you're right, so right! My journey isn't just good enough, it's perfect for me.

Heidi said...

Holy moly, that list could almost be mine! And who would rather have Jell-O than Chocolate Chunk Banana Nut Crunch Bread anyway???

And you are good at seeing silver linings, apparently!

Cindy said...

Erin, can you see how your words have struck a chord with so many? I think I feel these very thoughts far too frequently and it feels like such a relief to hear them echoed by someone I admire. You could have taken the words right out of my mouth! Lately I'm really coming to terms with where I am and who I am and I'm fine with it. And btw, as you know I'm not great at getting to bed like I should but I'm a great Night Owl just like you! :-)

Davinia said...

Very timely post Erin. I think most of us have similar thoughts along those lines.
I'm not a creative cook, but I can create great jewelry.
My home making skills are lacking, but I can give everything a lick and a promise and make it look like I'm Donna Reed (except for the cooking part).

Cameron said...

This was, indeed, a wonderful post!

I'm not good at keeping up with everyone's blog...but I'm great at leaving comments when I do..haha! Sorry, I'm absent for periods of time :)

My visits here are always rewarded with something that I can apply to me, too....a topic that resonates in all of us creative women...but I love that you are so honest about the not so positive aspects of trying to do it all....and so open about the journey of trying...and the stumbling that sometimes takes place :)

You are as shiny and dazzling as the jewelry you create :D

somethingunique said...

Happy International Womens Day Miss Erin,you most certainly have a way with words and your list well everyone of them could reflect me, well except banana bread i'm famous for my "chocoalte peanut butter pucks" they are accually like a recess pb cups only homemade and in the shape of a hockey puck.You have a wonderful day you desereve it because your words inspire all of us to have a better day !! ttfn Lana :)<my happy face

Courtney said...

Thank you! I am way stuck in the muck right now, both personally and professionaly. I now see that I just need to look at it from another angle! Thank you for bringing me around the corner.

I am not good at self promotion, but I am great at promoting others.

I am not good at seeing my self and my work in a postitive light, but I am great at supporting and encouraging others.

I am not good at putting laundry away, but I am great at doing and folding it.

I am not great at baking, but I am great at cooking and love, love it!

Thank you for the view around the corner!


Kristen said...

You know what I have to say...
I am not good at being the person I thought I should be but I am great at being who I am! It has taken forever to really understand that statement and believe it but now (at 40 some odd years old) I am finally happy with me! I think we still struggle for picture perfect but honestly what picture is perfect?

Janet said...

Such a good post Erin! You who are such a flower!

JeannieK said...

Stuck in the muck is yuck. Did you know you can buy trophies, so now I'm great at everything!

You are my shero. It's nice to know it's not just me.

Mellisa said...

You are just great all around!

I have had several days of feeling overwhelmed (and cranky because of it) and stressed out because I'm not getting to all the things I feel that I "need" to immediately. I am not always good at setting limits for myself which makes me great at taking too much on!

Thank you for this post :)

Orion Designs said...

I love this post. It's a great reminder for all of us to focus inward when we need a boost. I will make my own private list of things I'm not good at and am great at.

I'm pretty sure it will make me feel superb! Thanks for that.

sandi m said...

Great post Erin.
I could have penned many of your statements.
Nice to know that muck has no boundaries!

Cynthia said...

Great post, Erin!
I'm not good with words, but I certainly appreciate someone who is!

N Valentine Studio said...

I knew there was a reason I "had" to check out my favorite blogs, something kept telling me to go read today. I've spent two un productive days struggling with........I don't know what. I didn't know till I read this, muck I'm struggling with muck. Thank you so much for making stop and think.

I'm not good at staying focused, but I'm very good at keeping things tidy.
I'm not good at appreciating my talents, but I'm very good at helping others.
I'm not good at sticking to my diet, but I'm good at taking care of my animals.

Erin, truly this is one of those times I wish cyber were real space, I'd love to hug you.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to write some of these down, pretty them up and post them on my inspiration board.

BooBeads said...

Erin I believe everybody has the feelings, you just happen to put it into words perfectly!

I'm good at procrastinating, but always get the job done on time. Not so good juggling time.

I'm not good at having an answer to all my kids questions, but I'm good at leaving them with encouraging words.

I'm not good at being patient, but I'm good at biting my tongue.

I'm not good at writing, but I'm good at talking.

and this list could be miles long!

BTW- another night owl here :)

ladynoble said...

Such a great post Erin. You write so well. Everyone has their list of not so good, but really great...

I love your "I am not good at arriving early, but I am great at staying late" I am the same way!

I am not a good cook but am a great eater!
I am not good at cleaning but great at organizing.
I am not good on a PC but great on a Mac.
I am not good at going to bed early, but I am great at sleeping in.
I am not good at doing what is expected but I am great at following my own path.

stacilouise said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing. I have been struggling with envy all week (envious of success)! Wondering if I should be doing something different, to be more successful, or maybe not doing something, ect... I really needed that reminder, to just be.
Be the me I am, and be content with that. Would I really be happy any other way?


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