I’m reblogging a post that really hit me today. Fritzie says in one of the comments that she wrote it while reflecting on her 40+ years so far. Well, I’ve been reflecting on my 60+ years and am still struggling with the truism that it’s OK to be average. Like Fritzie, my parents and teachers all called me “underachiever” and encouraged/pushed me to do/be better. I don’t know about Fritzie, but my parents didn’t hesitate to let me know how disappointed they were when I didn’t pull myself out of the ranks of underachievers. When I graduated from college exactly 20 years after high school and then from law school, my parents finally told me they were proud of me. By then I was 40, and I just didn’t believe them. After 40 years of letting them down, how was it possible they were suddenly proud of me? I’ve spent a lifetime trying to prove to them and to myself that I’m not an “underachiever”, that I’m not a failure, trying to somehow earn their posthumous approval. Impossible and irrational, I know. The result has been a lifetime of self-criticism, disappointment, even depression that I was still one of the “underachieving” masses. Four years of retirement and reflection have helped me to realize that the underachiever label isn’t a death sentence. That it’s merely a recognition that no one can be the best in everything. I admit I still have some way to go toward accepting that being average is OK. Reading and re-reading Fritzie’s blog will help me to do that.
I may excel in certain things, but I’ll be “just average” in a lot of areas in my life. And you know what?
It’s Ok to be Average!
This phrase changed my life because I grew up constantly trying to excel in everything. Nothing is wrong with that. I believe that we should strive to do our best in whatever we do. However, if our happiness and self-worth depend on the outcome, then we need to reflect on why we are so driven towards our goals in the first place.
Mine was the desire for the approval of others.
I was in 3rd grade when I scored 18 out of 20 on a test. I can’t remember the subject, but I recalled what my teacher told my mom, “your daughter is an underachiever.” My mom pushed me to study hard and get good grades. And I did!
I went home…
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