Owning The Part of our Story That Sometimes Hurts

Part of living our purpose entails owning up to the parts of our lives that we weren’t all that thrilled about. Often, given enough distance, we can see how those chapters are necessary for the story to progress. And often they define our character.

But some of those chapters seem to stick with us. Just like those haunting words that follow from our favorite authors pen, the words of our life come back again and again.

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For me, I have one such sentiment that I’ve never been able to shake, but know that it’s part of who I’ve been, who I am, and likely who I will become.

I have long felt that I am second rate. Not in a self deprecating way, nor do I share that in a needy plea for sympathy. It’s just always been part of my story.

I’ve never been the smartest. the fastest, the best looking, the funniest. But I’ve generally been pretty close.

Don’t get me wrong, I LIKE me. I do. Not always, but generally speaking I’m content with who I am.

There’s just something about being second best. It’s often frustrating.At many points in my life. I’ve succumbed to working so hard for everything I’ve ever gotten, busting my tail and putting the time in, only to have someone step in and do just a tad bit better.

This has been true for years. I recall being on the Track team in High School and really doing the work to improve my events. I was a thrower, and had a goal of 500 throws in each event (on top of the regular workout) each week. It was exhausting, backbreaking work, but I wanted to both improve my distances and put on weight for the football season in the fall.

I was the best on my team, and one day a friend saw my down in the circle putting shot well after nearly everyone else had gone home. He was a great athlete, but far from a thrower and came down to see what I was doing. He asked if he could give it a try and after a few pointers on form and technique he threw a few times. The first one landed about 6 inches further than my personal record. I was nearly crushed. It had taken me 3 years of sweat and work to get not quite as far as he was able to in 5 minutes.

Now, granted there are people who  will always be more gifted than each of us. I get that, and really it sucks but it’s part of life.

For me though, if this was an isolated event, I probably could just shake it off as a bummer and moved on. But for me, it’s really not. I’m GOOD at a lot of stuff. But I’m not GREAT at anything really.

And here lies my point in sharing all of this. Your story is yours. It’s not just “special” as we’ve all been told. It is truly one of a kind. No one has your mix of skills and talents, natural gifting and tendencies, nor traits and personality. The time, place, family structure, class structure, gender, and every other little nuance that make you “YOU”, is like no one else that has ever existed.

So you can get frustrated about being second best. You can get discouraged that things didn’t work out as you planned. You can get down on yourself that you don’t have something, are something, or the ability to be something.

Or you can embrace it, own your story, and get back in the circle and hit your 500.

Because at the end of the day, the only person you’re really competing with is you.

What about you? What frustration have you lived with that leaves you feeling a little left out?

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The Chapter We Don’t Read out Loud

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