Selling Ourselves Short
Our entire lives are made up of dreams and aspirations. From the time we are born until the time we pass on, we fill our years on this planet with wishing on stars in hopes that they will come true. However, we often allow our own self-doubt to be the bearer of bad news to our ever-changing fantasies.
Everything in life has a price. From the food we eat and Instagram model inspired tops we wear to the cars we drive and homes we lease; everything in our life comes at a price, even our life itself. We have to pay with our time, effort, blood, sweat and tears in order to live the life in which we have always dreamt. A life filled with stability, consistency, and an abundance of happiness.
Like many of you, as a kid, I always dreamt of a life beyond the stars — or the streets of my semi-rural hometown. I dreamed of the days where I could bask in the beauty of my hard work that brought something into the world that was bigger than me. Family, friends, and loved ones always told me that I am capable of more than I will ever know and worthy of more than people told me I am. However, as the years go by and the innocence of childhood fades, I begin to doubt the sincerity of their words and the ability of my own capabilities. The days spent working towards something that feels so out of reach feel wasted and the feelings of self-doubt and self-loathing become too overwhelming. I begin to lower the price at which I have set for myself; I begin to lower the value of my self worth. That maybe I am not meant to have the mental and monetary fortune that I have always dreamed of. That maybe I am not worthy of the opportunities that my peers have. That maybe my abilities are not as useful and unique as I once thought.
Now don't get me wrong: at the tender age of 22, I am aware that I have so much of my life to live and selling myself short this early on will do me no good. I know that. And yet, it doesn't stop me from doing it. It doesn't stop the seemingly second nature thoughts from creeping in when I don't get the results in which I wanted or compare and contrast myself to someone who is in the very position I am working hard for. Selling myself short is something I do frequently and greatly wish that I didn't.
To be quite honest with you, friend to friend, human to human: I didn't even realize I was doing it. Not until almost a year ago.
During the peak of the pandemic when we were all confined to our homes, I had so much time to self-reflect. This forced downtime allowed me to access my faults and take time to improve them. That I could take the time to become better than what others expected of me and become the person in which I am destined to be. The time I usually spent having FOMO was now being used to work on my creative skills, re-discover my love for writing hopeless romantic short stories, and really focus on doing what makes me feel fulfilled. I began to realize that if I wanted certain opportunities, I had to believe that I am deserving of them.That solidifying the confidence I had within myself would allow it to show through my work and my actions, making it almost impossible for others to deny my abilities. More so, making it impossible for me to see myself as less than what I truly am. I no longer would sell myself short, only provide myself with the time and energy I needed to work on my craft(s) and myself.
Also, for anyone who's not hip to the slang [like me obviously 🥴]: FOMO stands for fear of missing out. Everyone say thank you Urban Dictionary.
At the time I am both writing and revising this post, there is a faint voice in the darkest corner of my mind, taunting me by saying that this will never see the light of day. That I will somehow talk myself down and out of ever sharing my thoughts with people who may need it, understand it or care to read it; people like you, hopefully. So if you're reading this right now, it is honestly a miracle –– present Alaysha, I am proud of you (sincerely, past Alaysha).
As I close out this ode to myself, I want offer some words of encourage to you, the reader. There are many times in our lives where we will sell ourselves short. We will spend hours allowing the voices in our head to steal, borrow or barter down our own self-worth. That what we bring to the table will be no different or not as special to what others have done. But if there is nothing that resonates with you by the end of this post, I want you to know that everything that you have, everything that you are and will be will always be special. It will always be enough. The dreams you have, the passion you possess and the drive you utilize wills you to become something the world has never seen but will become honored to know. All you have to do is give yourself the chance. Allow yourself to be confident in you and your skills. Allow yourself to showcase your skills and be proud of what the result is, no matter if it is what you expected or not. Allow yourself the time and space to work your way towards the life in which you have dreamt. However, from here on out, never allow you or anyone else to sell you for less than you are worth, for you are priceless.