Can I Love Myself If I Never Achieve Another Thing?

I always seem to get exactly what I need from yoga class. Today was no different. It’s a beautiful day, and I felt peace and gratitude as I walked into the studio. My favorite teacher was at the front desk, and signed me in without asking my name. But as I started my practice in Child’s Pose, something in me shifted into darkness. I had a sense of coming home into myself, and what I saw there today wasn’t pretty. Like a cloud obscuring the sun, my shadow side was coming forth to teach me something important, and it wasn’t moving aside.

As I took the poses cued by my instructor, I started judging myself harshly. I’ve been practicing yoga regularly for over three years now, and my poses look nothing like hers! From there, my mind darted to the brilliant achievements of people from my past, including an old friend from college who is in a TV series, and now has voiced a character in a huge movie about to hit theaters. I’m so happy for and in awe of her, as well as my other friends who run their own successful businesses, including a yoga studio, clothing stores, and spa businesses. All of a sudden, I was in a swirl of comparison, judging myself for never having achieved something of that scale. All at once, I was having a pity party.

Since I was a young girl, I felt I was destined to do something “great.” I vowed to be a famous actress by the age of 20. But my childhood ended too soon, and throughout my teens and 20s, I lost my true self. I acted out, seeking love and approval in self-destructive ways. I couldn’t see what was happening because I was right in the center of the chaos. And no one could stop me. Most never even tried.

By Divine intervention, I’ve been successful in healing myself, gradually over the past few years. I’m connected to myself and my Divine, as I’ve never been in my life. But that fact couldn’t stop the tears that streamed down my face today at yoga class. I’ve had setback after setback in my professional life: a brief acting career, that I joke made me an excellent food server; a failed music festival business; a career in the legal field, which does not allow me to use my gifts, and holds no opportunity for growth. I’ve invented a brilliant new product, and I’m facing an uphill battle every step of the way, as I work to get it made. It’s hard for me to view the many successes that have accompanied these “failures.”

I know that these setbacks and disasters have taught me lessons that I need to learn. But today as I practiced pose after pose, my tears fell heavy onto my mat. I cried over the disappointments and the broken hearts I’ve experienced along the way. I asked myself, “Can I let go now of everything I’m working to achieve?” If this product doesn’t come to fruition, if this job I’m interviewing for doesn’t pan out, if I don’t become a successful health expert and entrepreneur, am I still worthy of love? If I never achieve another thing in my life, can I still love myself? The answer right now is I don’t know. But I do know that this is the question that I need to look at, at this juncture in my life, because maybe the key to my “greatness” is finally being okay with being ordinary. Maybe it is from that solid foundation that my greatness can finally be achieved.

As I walked out of the yoga studio today, I felt lighter, as if I had begun to let go of something big. This was heavy baggage that I wasn’t aware that I was carrying. While I didn’t get the joyful, graceful yoga practice I was anticipating, I got exactly what I needed. I’ve discovered the next step in my self-awareness journey.