Sometimes I wonder about the word “they”. If you look up the definition of the word, among other things heavy in grammar language, you’ll find a definition that states: people in general.
I’ve been wondering about this word because it keeps coming up a lot. You hear people say things like, “They wanted me to do this.” Or quotes that read, “They said I couldn’t…”
It is the second instance that has gotten me thinking recently. The hundreds of thousands of variations of the quote: They told me I couldn’t, so I did, are meant to be inspirational and motivational. I totally get that. But here is my question. Who are “they” exactly? And why were you listening to them in the first place?
I recognize that in your life, their are genuinely people who are going to tell you that you can’t accomplish something great. But in the spirit of complete transparency, I have to be honest and tell you that the person most often saying that to me is me. Not them.
While I think that the sentiment of doing things despite failure and hardship is completely worthy and wonderful, I don’t think that it should be the sole motivator in why we accomplish good things. Because that is just revenge masked as your success story.
As I’ve been thinking about it, I’ve realized that the reason for success should never be because somebody told us we couldn’t. And we also need to realize that more often than not, we are the ones saying those things. Not them.
In the end, you are only responsible for you. And I firmly believe that so much of the time, we create our own barriers and limitations. We are the ones holding ourselves back from the wonderful things we want to do or be.
It occurs to me that the real reason behind all of this is fear. We are afraid of failure or mistakes or looking like we didn’t do the right thing. It is what holds us back from telling people we love them, or pursuing that outstanding career, or starting a family. As much as fear can protect us, it can also hurt us.
When I think back on the most incredible times in my life, I can tell you with complete certainty that those were also the times that I was totally and completely terrified. I had no idea what I was doing, no idea what would happen. But I went forward because I couldn’t deny that I knew what I was supposed to do. I went forward because, despite the fear, I knew something great was coming.
And sometimes I’m in awe of that girl who did those brave things, and I wish could be like her every day. Because instead of doubting and belittling myself, instead of creating my own barriers, for once in my life I moved forward with complete faith. I pushed aside the fear. And I’ve never been more grateful for anything.
More than we realize, I think that they keys to our happiness are right in front of us. In our sight, and within our reach. It isn’t up to “them” to tell us what we can and cannot have, and nor is it the job of fear. Maybe the real key here is to open our eyes a little bit, and look past the barriers we put ourselves behind in order to see what has been there the entire time.