Before we begin, I want you to know that I’m not trashing you. That being said, I need you to quit hating on yourself.
There is a very small positive to living as an unhappy person for a long time. When you’re used to having everything you touch turn to shit, you become a connoisseur of shit, a shit aficionado if you will. The guy you’re out on a date with is talking a little too long about how angry he is that they left the green onions off of his salad? Yeah, time to go. The girl you’re hanging out with tends to stare into space before she answers a question? Like every time? She’s probably imagining using your limbs to help complete the Human Doll in her closet. Lose her number. You should never lose this skill; it’ll keep you alive.
But –surprise-- you are not suddenly infallible, and you’ve let your intuition mutate, as it often does, into a belief that everyone is out to kill you. Don’t deny it. It won’t help you.
Look, I know what you do because I am you. I, too, start questioning everything I do when I’m left alone for too long. I’ve made so many bad decisions in the last 10 years that I’m sort of an expert on it. For the longest time, I didn’t even trust myself to pick my own friends because they were almost always disasters. One year, I did so many stupid things, trusted so many bad people, that I am surprised I’m actually alive. I had even originally started this blog to chronicle said bad decisions, because it was either laugh at it or drown myself in a vat of sulfuric acid.
And now I’m happy with my life! Imagine how hard that fucks with your head. When you’re used to being unhappy, and when you’re used to being wrong about everyone around you, your mind eventually refuses to register anything but the worst.
So trust me, I get it. Life has been throwing you lemons every hour of every day, so you’ve just come to expect lemonade.
Okay. You know what I’m going to say, right? Here it is anyway. STOP IT.
As one of you, I’ve learned a couple things. The first, the most obvious, being that constantly questioning your own life choices is destroying you. Let’s all say “no shit” together, and let me move on to tell you what you don’t know:
Your need to find something wrong in all that is around you is not a distrust of others. It is a distrust of yourself. You’ve decided that you are terrible at making decisions, and you’re used to needing a helmet when you leave the house. The moment you realize you can walk without tripping and falling, you figure someone made a mistake somewhere, and that someone has to be you. Things are only right when you’ve got it all wrong, and until you find that you’ve made a mistake, the universe just isn’t in alignment.
It took me ages to realize that, unless you have the IQ of roadkill or have a really deep problem, you cannot screw up the same way forever. Eventually, even if you haven’t been consciously trying to, you will learn something from messing up, and this will result in you making smarter decisions. The streak will break, and you need to be ready for that. If your mind is always so closed off that you’re searching for cracks and imperfections in the finish, you won’t catch that you’re not a screw up anymore until it’s too late.
Now here’s the biggest kicker. Are you ready?
You’re actually not a screw up. Like at all. Surprise and you’re welcome.
You know the people who aren’t like us? The ones who always seem to have things straight in their heads and who aren’t afraid of anything it seems like? The ones who will randomly find 100 dollar bills in their pockets and then buy their friends drinks so you can’t even hate them properly for their constant luck? Those people? They don’t know anything either. They’re faking it through just like we are. They just happen to have made a couple better decisions than we did here and there, and it wasn’t on purpose either.
You can trust me on this, because I’m married to one of those people. He’s wonderful and he’s brilliant and he’s funny, but I’ll be damned if I haven’t caught him making decisions by shrugging and forging ahead, just like I have. And the important part? When it hasn’t worked, he’s spent all of 20 minutes at most being upset before he’s forged ahead to find another resolution. He doesn’t dwell on his mistakes, he doesn’t put that down as a check in the FAILURE column—I’m not even 100% convinced he even allows himself a FAILURE column.
Because he somehow has realized that a bad choice or a mistake isn’t a failure so much as it is a minor setback.
So. You. Why am I writing this to you? Because I don’t want us to punish ourselves anymore. We’ve been wrong before, but so has everyone. We’ve failed before, but so has everyone. And the fact that you made a number of wrong decisions means nothing. In this universe, you aren’t meant to fail – you fail by meaning to. So quit looking for where you went wrong, because there are no rules, and there is no “wrong,” and maybe –quite possibly—you are actually succeeding. And if you’re just sitting in a room somewhere waiting for the other shoe to drop, you’re missing it.
But if you really must hear it in order to move on, technically you were wrong about being wrong. So there’s that. Now go outside.
There’s a big, bad world out there, made beautiful by us “screw ups,” and we could really use you.