Hi everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I have great news…I’m officially done with the GRE! Goodbye and good riddance to stress and hello to a new chapter of my life. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m turning over a new leaf now. It’s time for me to take care of myself mentally and physically. It’s time for me to enjoy life and be an actual human being that isn’t stressed 24/7, sleep-deprived, and missing family time.
I started this new chapter Saturday night when my friend and I ate dinner on the beach and watched the sunset. Clearwater Beach is gorgeous, and words cannot describe how relaxing it was to sit there and do nothing but watch the vibrant sun descend into the horizon. There wasn’t a thing on my mind other than being present and remembering that those are the instances life is all about. Though we had originally planned to go bowling after, I decided that I needed to relax instead. That meant more than watching the sunset. We stayed late to watch the sky turn colors, light fade, and darkness rise. Then, we polished it off with some ice cream and called it a night. It was perfect.
Although I could tell my friend was really looking forward to bowling, I needed to be selfish in that moment, and she understood. The thing is, we can go bowling anytime, but I know I can’t will myself to suddenly feel that at peace. That sunset was one in a million, a gift from God that I needed to experience. I think we’ve all been there…those times when God drops a little piece of heaven in front of us and nothing else matters in that moment other than living it. Again, that’s what life is about.
As I went on my Sunday morning walk yesterday, I spent some more time reflecting, and I realized how hard I was on myself after I finished taking the GRE. I did great on the test. I got beyond the score I needed for graduate school, but I was still upset. To be honest, my stomach turned when the score popped up on the computer screen. A massive sense of disappointment encompassed me…but why? I got the score I needed. Actually, I scored way higher, but I didn’t get the score I wanted. I was two points shy of hitting my personal goal, and I beat myself up over it…
After I left the testing center, I sat in my car for a few minutes before I called my mom to tell her the results. In that short moment, thoughts we are all familiar with filled my mind: “I should have…”, “What if I had…”, “I would have done better if…”, etc.
Those thoughts are poisonous. They do nothing but bring us down. When my mom answered the phone, she heard the sadness in my voice but leapt for joy when I told her my score. She tried to cheer me up, but I was too encompassed in my thoughts. I knew the only reason I was upset was because I didn’t hit my goal, but that didn’t make it better. Even the day after, I had to try my best not to focus on it.
So often do I talk about how society sets unrealistic rules and expectations for us that drag us down. While that’s true, we do the same to ourselves whether we realize it or not. We habitually develop lofty goals that, if we miss them, bring us down. Self-deprecating thoughts then consume us. We might even find ourselves further from the finishing point than when we originally started.
But why are we so hard on ourselves in these cases? Honestly, it’s because we are our own worst critics. This extends beyond goals…we condemn our looks, appearances, successes, failures, etc. But for what? Doing so does nothing but break us apart. It does nothing to fix the “problem” at hand.
I put problem in quotation marks because a lot of the time, there actually is no problem. The fact that I was two points short won’t matter to anyone but me. The truth is that the body part we scrutinize is probably only disliked by us…it’s might even be why someone else is attracted to us. Focusing on these issues only makes them worse, too. When we do, our minds start to play games on us. That score becomes worse and worse. That body part becomes even bigger, smaller, “abnormal”, etc.
So what do we do? We consider everything in context. I look at my score and smile because although it wasn’t what I wanted, it was more than I needed. I’ll still stand out to graduate schools. We look at that body part in relation to our other features. We might not like our nose, but we sure have beautiful eyes. Together, they still create a beautiful human being.
And that’s what we have to remember the most: life is beautiful, but only when we open our eyes to see it. Our perspectives limit our world. If we walk around with a narrow focus, we miss out on so many beautiful opportunities and novel ways of thinking. We end up missing out on the happiness that God promises us.
So when we fall down this week, let’s remember not to dwell on it but consider it in context. There’s nothing wrong with asking what went wrong and what we can do differently as long as we remember to learn from it and consider what’s around us. Maybe we needed to fall so that we could see another opportunity. And when we start to get down on ourselves, ask if doing so is worth the time and energy. Chances are positive thoughts would serve us better.
Thank you all for reading today! Having your support really makes writing these posts a lot of fun. I look forward to the quiet time where I get to type out my thoughts…and the fact that you all enjoy reading them makes it all the more special.
Don’t forget to like, share, and comment. I’ll talk to you on Friday 🙂
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ~ Les Brown