I think Mondays will henceforth be a self-compliment kind of day. Last week I got down on myself, really down on myself, to the point of borderline depression type down on myself.
Yet there was something interesting that came from it. As a very close friend and I texted Saturday night while I was away for reserve duty, God revealed something to me through her.
He revealed the idea that I don’t have to strive for perfection. I can try to live like Jesus, but I don’t need to strive to actually be him.
That’s a delicate distinction to make.
It’s enough, as she told me, to just try and be great. I don’t have to try and be perfect all the time. I just need to try and do as well as I can at whatever I do, and that’ll work. Or it won’t, but it’s ok, because I don’t have to be perfect. I’m not called on to redeem the entire world, that isn’t my sacrifice to make, even if I was tough enough to handle such a burden. No, I can do my best to live like Jesus, to emulate all that he did, but in the end, it’s ok if I fail, because I’m not perfect. This has been an unfair standard I’ve held myself to for far too long.
One of the great things about life is that we all have different strengths and different weaknesses, and we can choose whether we’ll beat ourselves up for what we wish we did better, or we can choose a day each week where we remind ourselves that we do, perhaps contrary to our own beliefs, have strengths. In Poetry, in Dance, in life in general, we all have strengths that we can flaunt like peacock feathers.
For me, that day of each week I’ll remind myself of them will be Monday.
Immune to the labors of the army reserve, Monday is the day everyone dreads. Yet it is the day that I personally find the most opportunity in. In Monday we find the equivalent of a writer’s blank page before us. Someone wise once said “The hardest part of writing, is starting.” The same is true with the week. The hardest part, the part when we most need to lock our minds in and not just accept but even decide to charge forward with reckless abandon at the week, is Monday. It is the blank page to the poet and we area all published authors who have gotten our poetry cards in the mail.
So on every Monday henceforth, I’m going to use it as a day of self-compliments. Not in a way that makes me arrogant, for it will always be a strength to be critical of myself, but as a day that I dwell on my strengths and remind myself to embrace them and enjoy them. Monday of each week will no longer be known as the day of dread that everyone else seems to see it as, but as the day that I stand up diligently and remind myself that yeah, I have flaws. Yeah, I hate making people feel awkward, and yeah, I feel like I do it all the time. Yeah, I feel like I force myself into people’s lives too often, and yeah, I know I come on too strong and have to learn to tone my personality back a bit, but I do have good things too.
As a Dancer, I bring passion and energy, and one day I’ll bring speed and skill to the mix if God wills it. As a poet, I bring passion, energy, sharp use of anaphora and sound, and an ecstatic tone to some of my poetry that just isn’t all that common in this world where so much poetry is considered sad and depressing and almost “emo.” As a professional, I bring public speaking ability that’s overrated but could turn into something I do for a living because it has been praised repeatedly throughout the years by bosses, teachers, professors, and academic institutions at every level from elementary school to college in some way or another. As a man, I bring a stubborn independence, almost to the point of arrogance, and a strict adherence to what many consider perhaps even an unreasonably-ethical code of conduct, and a mind that never stops working and never stops thinking abstract and never stops dreaming or seeing connections or thinking big. I bring empathy and positivity and a lack of judgement and an eagerness to listen and assist those I care for, regardless of circumstance or how those I care for perceive me.
Finally, as a romantic, I bring such passion, such resilience to the core of my soul that I can bounce back from all I’ve endured, including divorce and heartbreak by serenade, but can still endure false friendships, can handle the seas of hidden intentions, but can hold out and continue to dream and hope and believe in love and in others.
These are my strengths. They are proven, they are indisputable, they are the very things I need to remind myself of if I slip into the trap of thinking too much about my weaknesses. These are my niches in life: the roles where I thrive and can use to foster success because God gave them to me, and I musn’t let the tools He has endeared me with rust or go to waste.
I’d encourage you to think of your own.