You don’t know it, but I needed it too, probably even more than you did.
It was a pass or fail sort of thing – the kind that I don’t think any teacher wanted to be caught in. We wanted you to pass, Chris and I, but we had to make sure that it was a decision that you were actually able to live up to. We didn’t want to be pulling things out of thin air; we had to be stewards of impartiality. We had to sit you down – it might have seemed painful and difficult, and it might have looked like we were trying to wring you of answers for the fun of it (of course, not), or in an attempt to be critical and disbelieving of you, but it was really for us to be able to understand where the lack was all coming from.
We had to flesh out the root issue here, which according to you, was the fear of being graded. The fear of being judged, we expanded.
Like we told you, it doesn’t go away. Apparently not. I’m actually only starting to learn it now.
We never want to make mistakes, we never want to be thought of as inadequate – none of us do. It’s the default human setting. But it’s something that we have to overcome and set aside, otherwise we could wake up one day and find the pressure so overwhelming, that we wouldn’t want to actually wake up anymore, and just much rather stay in bed. And the moment that happens – well, let’s just say it’s much easier to expect for things to only go downhill from then on.
There will always be things that we will not be able to do. There will always be things that we will not get right the first try – maybe even ever. But that doesn’t make us inadequate. It’s not that we’re not enough – it’s that there’s just not enough spaces to fill when it comes to learning and growing.
There will always be expectations from other people, from other things, and the truth is, it takes a keen eye to realize that these expectations are being set by none other than ourselves. We have to let go. If it doesn’t work out, then it doesn’t. If it does, then it does. The meanings behind these are ours to determine, ours to choose.
If things don’t work out, that doesn’t make us less of a person. It only means there’s another opportunity to try again. Or maybe move on to the next thing.
We can’t always be the first ones to doubt ourselves, be our very own faultfinders – I wish it was a lot easier done than said, but that’s gotta be something all have to learn, or rather unlearn. Ruminating on the negative things – the should have’s and ought to’s, could have’s – it’s a habit. As much as this is a habit, rummaging for the good things, the right things, the strengths, the potentials, and even the strength and hope to keep going – that’s a habit too that we can learn and form. And it’s probably the most important habit in the so-called real world.
We may have seemed to have said these things with much certainty, seemingly with so much wisdom.
But like I said, I needed to hear it myself, really. Probably even more than you did.