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  • marlienligtenberg

The fear of being ordinary

Sometimes I am afraid to be ordinary.

Normal life doesn't feel enough. Everything needs to be brilliant, impactful and perfect. In these moments I compare myself with others a lot. People who are 'already there.' I focus on everything that is missing and I wonder: what do I do wrong?

The moment I felt this fear the most was when I wrote my Master thesis.

It felt so useless writing it. It's going to end up in my tutor's desk. Why do I do this?! I wanted it to become a masterpiece. Publication in a book or article in a newspaper was the bare minimum. That mindset was such an energy drain.

I changed the subject a million times. I never was satisfied. I felt a lot of stress and anxiety during that period. I felt very lonely, because I didn't ask for help but struggled alone. But giving up and just writing 'a normal thesis' felt like failing.

My tutor became very impatient with my procrastination.

And that saved me in the end. I needed to wrap up and hand it in. And the crazy thing is, someone was interested in possibly publishing my thesis. I got an offer from someone that worked at a think tank. I did never send my thesis. Because I was too afraid that it wasn't good enough!

I can't be bothered about that thesis in hindsight. My thesis was not a masterpiece (the grade was not that good, because I finished it stressed just to be done with it). And it didn't get a publication. And to be honest, I never was bothered by that later on. I got a job and could reach my goals also without perfection.

The moments that I strive for perfection become less and less.

And I am super grateful for that. I notice that my mindset shifted more to: how do I lead a fulfilling life? What is valuable for me? I pay way more attention to all the good stuff that is already there.

When we give up hope to become a better version of ourselves, life can finally begin. A while ago I read a beautiful article about this topic. It was about the paralyzing search for perfection. I loved the last sentence. 'When we give up hope to become a better version of ourselves, life can finally begin.' When I accept myself the fear is gone. And is such a happy and fulfilled feeling! This quote is my motto for the new year.

I wish you a lot of self-love for the coming Holidays!

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