I’ve had several thoughts this month about giving up. Not giving up on my life, but on my dream. It breaks my heart to speak the truth of that. But it’s true. My dream has been everything to me. It’s saved my life by giving me purpose and meaning. It’s fulfilled me like nothing other. It connects me in world where I have felt so alone. It inspires me and has me feel a part of something so much bigger than myself. How could I ever quit on it? Well, sometimes it just feels so hard.
I write a monthly blog. This is part of my dream, using my learning to serve others. I don’t always receive a lot of feedback on them. Sometimes they just go out into the ether and I don’t know if there is any impact. I’m okay with that. I’m showing up and I’m writing. That’s my part. The rest is up to God. I believe that most of the time. This month, it was hard. I opened up an email to read, “Molly, I read your blog. You are full of shit.” It’s hard to ignore those. They hit deep. This is my heart I put out into the world. How can it be full of shit? I know it’s not, but the rejection still stings. I had the thought, “I don’t want to write anymore.” I sat with that for a few minutes and then I remembered Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly.
In the beginning of the book she cites a quote from Roosevelt. I went back and read it. It said,
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Is the one critiquing your work, your art, your music, or your dance in the ring? Or are they sitting on the sideline, yelling from the bench. In my view, the words that really count are from the ones who are daring greatly. The ones putting their heart and light out into the world. For they, too, surely have stumbled. They know the pings of rejection and disappointment. To me, those voices count. Not so much the ones with the music still safely inside.
These words, from someone braving it the ring in a big way, inspire me to keep going. To never give up. To keep writing. Thank you Brené and thank all of you in the ring.
One of my amazing coaches once told me, “Molly, I see you as world leader in healing suicide on the planet.” That seemed pretty big to me at the time. Honestly, it still does. But I’ve been living into that dream for the past 8 years. One person believing in me and seeing my greatness and holding it has helped to fuel 8 years of being in the ring. Isn’t that incredible? I think we all want this. We want someone to see our greatness and hold us accountable to it. It’s amazing to see the power of seeing the best in someone. It can change the world.
As much as I’ve replayed those words in my head over and over throughout the past years, this month they felt so distant. As I kept learning of more and more individuals who had taken their own life, my light dimmed. “Am I doing any good? Is any of this making a difference?” In a vulnerable time, I began to wonder if those words were true. “Am I full of shit?” Someone had given a seed of doubt, and I began to plant it. I wanted to quit.
It’s really challenging working with those who want to kill themselves. Or at least, it can be at times. I hear people tell me they just want to quit. They want to die. They’re exhausted, they’re in pain, and they’re hopeless. I can see all the light inside. I can see this light and it’s hard to know they want to quit before they’ve seen it. Yet, I believe in it so much, I keep showing up. But after so many quit, I wondered if I make any difference at all.
In my space of doubt I sat with parents of a young teen. Their daughter had mentioned suicide and they were desperate to know how to help her. I listened to their anguish and helplessness. In the moment, I didn’t feel I had much to offer. I’m not a parent and honestly, I was questioning my own ability at the time. I did my best and at the end of the session I really felt I hadn’t done anything. The mom gave me a huge hug and with tears in her eyes, she said, “It’s so helpful to have someone who will listen and not judge.” In that moment, I remembered the ring. It was one person in the ring acknowledging another. That’s what we need to do. We need to keep going to encourage others doing their very best. We need each other, especially when it gets hard. Thank you mom of that teen. Again, thank you all who are in the ring.
I sat down at my computer the other day to pay my credit card. As I opened up the website and logged in to check my balance my heart sank. “How can I owe this much?” My stomach hurt. I’ve been paying on it, yet it just feels like I’m getting nowhere. I wanted to quit. “I need to make more money,” I thought. I thought about quitting on my dream. Why does what I do feel so important, yet I struggle to even pay my bills? It felt frustrating, hard, and discouraging.
As I sat there, looking at this huge figure I owed I remembered a quote from a movie with Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness. “You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.” My dream is hard sometimes. It’s hard to see that not all lives get saved. It’s hard to witness so much pain. It’s hard to make money. Sometimes, it’s hard to pay bills.
But then I remember my dream. This is the difference I want to see on the planet. How could I give up on it? It’s okay if the road seems dark. It’s okay if I don’t know how to make it all work. It’s okay if I get scared. It’s okay if I get knocked down. This is part of being in the ring. This is part of the pursuit.
And then I remember others in the ring. I’m not alone. I remember those with the courage to keep showing up, even when it seems hard, even when it seems hopeless. I remember those who have sang and let us all hear their light. I remember those who have written and let us all read their light. I remember those who have danced and let us witness their light. I remember those in the ring and I get back up again… it’s my turn to shine.