Have you ever felt like something (a thought, an idea, a situation) kept popping up all around you? I believe in the power of The Universe. I believe it’s always trying to guide us, and I believe in its infinite wisdom.
Recently I’ve been confronted with a series of situations and conversations centered around the idea of being undeserving. With one person it was being undeserving of success, with a few others it was being undeserving of happiness.
Tabula Rasa is a Latin phrase roughly translating to “blank slate.” It is the philosophical idea that humans are born with empty minds, and it is only through perception and experience that they gain knowledge. Basically, we’re all empty canvases when we’re born, and that canvas gets scribbled on throughout our lives.
I think we all see ourselves as Tabula Rasas. When we were younger we had so much potential, the world at our fingertips. Our youthful exuberance coupled with our desire to take over the world made anything possible for us.
And then? Well, a whole bunch of nasty shit happened.
We didn’t graduate high school. We didn’t graduate college. We got stuck in dead end jobs. We married the wrong person. We got divorced. Maybe we got married and divorced again. We suffered from an eating disorder. We struggled with addiction. We were broke. We struggled with our mental health. We were abused. We were bullied.
Suddenly our canvas looks like a Jackson Pollock painting, and it’s all our fault.
We spend years beating ourselves up over the shoulda woulda coulda of every situation. What if I hadn’t had that first drink? What if I had resisted the urge to binge and purge? What if I had listened to my friends and not married that awful woman?
Fast forward to when good things finally do happen to us. Maybe it’s finding a wonderful partner, or getting the job we’ve always wanted. Suddenly that pestering voice in our heads begin chattering, and the anxiety builds in our chests.
“I don’t deserve this.”
We’ve bought into it. The idea that we all started off so perfectly, and then crushed that perfection beneath the weight of our own stupidity.
I used to feel like an imposter. Work Jen is whip smart and motivated. Jen and Tonic is funny and insightful. Relationship Jen is loyal and loving. Friend Jen is generous and compassionate. But the real Jen? Well, she’s the screw up who hides behind the other Jens.
What I’ve come to realize is that those other Jens couldn’t exist without the real one. All those wrong turns I took in life shaped the person I’ve become. My insights, my humor, my work ethic, my loyalty, my compassion. These are all direct results of every single mistake (trust me, some were whoppers) that I’ve ever made.
Remember the Jackson Pollock painting I referenced earlier? And the splattered paint that ruined a perfectly good canvas? One of those bad boys sold for $140 million dollars in 2006.
There is value in destruction.
We have to stop looking at ourselves as blank slates that have been destroyed, and as amalgams of our experiences. Sure, we may have taken a rocky, more painful road to get to where we are today, but we still got here.
We still deserve love.
We still deserve success.
We still deserve happiness.
You deserve that.