When I was younger, I wanted to be an actor.
I wanted to tell really dramatic storylines and participate in chick flicks everyone would watch over and over. I wanted to step into worlds that weren’t my own and feel every emotion.
But I am not an actor today.
At some point in high school, I realized how competitive it was to be even moderately successful in the arts. I was a quiet Asian girl with nothing particularly interesting about my look or history. So I gave up on my dream because success was slim and I needed better odds.
I also wanted to be a meteorologist at some point. My sisters and I loved watching the charisma and accuracy of Michael Kuss on the news and I thought, ‘wow, that would be fun’. I gave up on that idea too, fearing that learning physics was going to be too hard and I’d have to give it up eventually.
Over and over again in my life, I found myself saying “no” to opportunities. I tell myself: “I can’t”. I write off my ideas and thoughts and aspirations because they seem too far fetched or too hard to attain.
But who decided that it’s impossible for me to do anything? Myself.
It became a habit of defining myself with everything that I’m not. I’m not special enough to be an actor. I’m not smart enough to be a meteorologist. I’m not capable. I’m not strong enough. I’m not good enough.
At the beginning of this year, I created resolutions to better myself. In those goals, I defined everything I am and what I wanted to be. What a difference wording makes! I realized that who I am is not defined by everything I am not. If there’s something I felt I was lacking in, I could change it. And if I can’t change it, I can change how I think about it. If there was something I really wanted in life, I would find a way to get there. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
The world is filled with obstacles and people telling you no. The world will find a million ways to let you know you’re not enough. You don’t need to add to that negativity. You don’t need to make another obstacle for yourself. You don’t need to close any more doors on yourself.
So when did we decide that we can’t? But more importantly, when will we decide that we can?