The month of November in the United States is “National Gratitude Month“, and an opportunity ripe for people to rightfully declare the standard things that fill their hearts with gratitude: family, friends, shelter, love, pets, etc, etc.
This is not that post. Instead, I will deviate from convention and hail some odd and vulnerable things I am grateful for.
4 Unusual things I am grateful for. Let’s jump into my nightmare. 😉
1. My own awkwardness (and what I’ve learned from it)
It’s difficult to pinpoint when I first became painfully aware of my awkwardness. Maybe it was the time I saw someone wince when I stood up to address a crowd. Or when my boss agreed with me that I was awkward.
Or the time I nervously admitted it to a room of co-workers only to get the reply, “When are you not awkward?”
I may or may not have cried myself to sleep a few times over that last one.
Lest you feel sorry for me, I write this with a smile, because of the (what I’ve learned from it) part I am about to share.
What I learned from my awkwardness:
- It stems from a lack of self-confidence. I was afraid of my own shadow when I first started my career. My sheer discomfort at so many new scenarios no doubt oozed from my person like a rank-smelling fart that made others uncomfortable as a result. Increase confidence, decrease awkwardness.
- People that tell you you’re awkward are helpful. Helpful jerks, that is.
It’s sometimes nice to know how others perceive you, but often not. Sometimes, it hurts. I recommend it in small quantities, to keep you humble. Otherwise, the mantra of “what other people think of me is none of my business” is among my faves.
- The ultimate cure is choosing not to take yourself too seriously.
Some of the most painful scenarios from yesteryear involve me obsessing over doing something “perfectly” and then dissolving into a puddle of nuclear-waste-level awkwardness when I did something wrong. I can laugh at it now. That’s not to say I handle every situation smoothly. Some of you who know me might think, “No, Summer, you’re still pretty awkward.”The difference between early 2000s me and today me is, I don’t care. I can laugh about it, because it’s genuinely funny to me. If I can show myself grace, you can do the same for yourself.
- Everyone else is too busy worrying about themselves to notice your awkwardness.
The sooner we can let this truth sink in, the faster we can all live gloriously in “C.” Repeat after me, “everyone else is too busy worrying about themselves to notice my awkwardness.”There are always exceptions, like those helpful jerks I mentioned. But seriously, how miserable must their internal monologue be if they choose to demean you?
2. Crippling fear and self-doubt
This goes hand-in-hand with #1. I have many memories of moments with sweaty palms and shallow, panicked breathing. Dozens of frantic phone calls to my parents, asking their advice for a situation I couldn’t see a way out of. Many sleepless nights and stressed-out evenings, crying out to God for peace and calm. Wow, this is getting pretty deep.
Those felt like the norm as a rookie diving into the deep end of my chosen career field.
“I don’t think I can do it.”
“What if I fail?”
“This is too difficult.”
“Maybe I should get an easier job.”
Those thoughts plagued me night and day for many years. Have you experienced that, or is it just me?
Lo and behold, I am still here. With God’s help, that of my folks and other trusted advisors, I faced each day. Usually, with a high amount of awkwardness. 🙂 I learned, I made mistakes, and I humiliated myself in front of important people. Regularly. And I lived to see another day and learn from my mistakes.
3. The freedom to end sentences with a preposition
Gotta mix up the tell-all with an off-topic one. I’m aware that the title of this blog post ends with a preposition. And I’m, OK with that.
4. Being ignored
Oh goodness, here she goes again with more sob stories! It’s part of our self-centered human ego to assume that people are ignoring us, when really, they are just self-focused. Probably not even thinking of me at all. So in a sense, I guess that is ignoring me??
I used to get my feelings hurt when a friend “ignored” me. How did they do such a thing? Not calling or texting back immediately. Neglecting to invite me to hang out on a Friday night. DARING to attend a concert with someone else, and not me.
I’ve come to realize, as an adult, it is a rare person indeed that checks in regularly and invites you to do things consistently. Otherwise, we all tend to get busy. We neglect reaching out to people, even people we think about with fondness, often.
So if *I* do that, maybe I shouldn’t worry about it too much if others do the same to me. If I’m being honest, it’s actually pretty egotistical of me to assume that someone is “ignoring” me, when its more likely that they are just busy, as most of us are, and haven’t taken the time to reach out.
You might be asking:
Why are you thankful for those things, weirdo?
In conclusion, I can say that struggling through all those things in my younger adult years shaped who I am today. That’s not to say that I have it all figured out. I don’t. Spoiler alert: no one does, despite how perfectly curated their Instagram feed is.
My countless moments of embarrassment, failure, lying awake at night replaying my mistakes over and over again in my head, all helped make me a stronger person.
I have learned that no matter what the unknowns are, it will be OK.
Every mistake I make, I can and will correct. Many missteps will be instantly forgotten with a smile and making a joke about it. I can give myself grace and move forward. Most importantly, my confidence comes from the unshakable hope I have in Christ.
I hope, that if you struggle with these painful lessons I learned, you will be encouraged. If you are determined to learn from the past, you can master the future, no matter what it holds.
I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts in a comment! Thank you for reading! 🙂