I have a pattern of not celebrating my successes. Mostly I ignore them, occasionally I allow myself to briefly enjoy them. Never do I allow myself full appreciation of what I have successfully completed, be it writing or drawing or anything else in my life. Always, I immediately move on to the next thing.
I’ve been wondering why I do this. Two days ago, I discovered a big reason.
In school, I was one of those brainy kids. The A’s on my report card came easily to me. Because of this, my teachers gave me extra enriched work, mostly math and science.
I loved, and continue to love, learning new things for the sheer enjoyment of it, but this was not something I chose for myself. I loved school, but this extra work felt like work, and I wanted to be with my friends playing and having fun. I rarely completed the assignments. The teachers eventually gave up, which was a relief for me.
In my child-mind, this experience created a belief that stuck in my subconscious.
I believed I was a failure.
I did not do the enriched work and become someone who changed the world through discovering amazing scientific things. I did not meet expectations. I did not fulfill my potential. It did not matter that the expectations and ideas regarding my potential belonged to someone else. As a child, I knew I was smart and I trusted my teachers, so I took this on as something reasonable.
When I look at my life now, I love where and who I am. I love love love drawing and writing. I love the learning I do, moving toward life with an open, creative heart. I love the family and friends I have around me. My life is good and I know I created this, which means yes I am successful at what I do.
I do not owe my school teachers or the world, or even myself, anything. I owe neither success nor failure.
I walked the path I needed to walk, so I could be exactly where I needed to be. As a child, love and joy were the most important choices I made for myself every day. I didn’t consciously realize what I was choosing, and I couldn’t articulate it. I didn’t realize love and joy could be choices, yet there I was choosing time with my friends as the most important thing.
That time with my friends shaped me. We read, traded books, made up stories, and played pretend. We drew and made things with whatever was at hand. We were creators who played, loved, and enjoyed what we created.
As I grew up, every choice I made, everything I was, everything I created led me here.
I appreciate what my school teachers did. Unknowingly, they pushed me into making my own choices, helped me find and experience the things that were right for me.
I know and feel how the words and images I create, the love and joy I share, the life I live changes the world around me. That is success.
I did not waste my potential. I have been fulfilling it all along.