Outing the gremlins and feeling deserving

September 23, 2018

I’ve been dealing with some gremlins the last couple of years.  I like to deal with them privately, you know, under the cloak of night or when I’m alone during long walks in the woods.  I’ve shared some of my struggles with these bad boys on this blog, as well as The Highway and I – particularly with depression, body image, perfectionism, etc.  I’ve really wanted this blog to be a place of inspiration and uplift, so I’ve been pretty quiet for the last couple months while I waged these battles in private.  I don’t want to write posts that have the slightest possibility of sounding self-loathing or pitying.  Nobody wants to read that, and frankly, I don’t want to create content like that.

And so, I stopped writing.  Instead, I explored, I climbed mountains, I let Mother Nature take my breath away all summer long.  I focused on the physical experiences, hoping they’d help me reconnect with the spiritual side I’d neglected.  And largely…. they did.  Here are just a few pics of moments that left me speechless:

As I sit here deep into the month of September, I look back trying to understand what this summer has meant for me – where does it fit into the scheme of my life?  What new growth or knowledge have I been blessed with?  What did I uncover about myself? — Questions a seeker always asks.

What I’ve come up with is that this summer was about exposing the gremlins.  Bringing them out into the open so I could clearly see them, study them, understand what their purpose was in my life, and most importantly… eradicate them.  I’ve realized that I can live the rest of my life with these leeches, allowing them to tag along with me on all my adventures and be a constant drain on my psyche, my physical body, my emotional outlook, my soul… or, I can oust them.  The decision is, and always has been, mine.

So I’m going to talk about the gremlins more in the next few posts as I rev my writing motor back up.  Maybe someone out there will benefit from or see themselves in some of the things I share (I have a feeling that many of you will).

I want to be better.  I am a growth-seeker.  I want to be the best version of myself in every way, and I think that has less to do with a neurotic perfectionism and more with wanting to take my life to the next level.  I want to know what I can do with the time I have left here.  I want to stretch, learn, help others, spread more love, experience life to the fullest, leave no stone unturned, challenge myself.  I want to look back on my life, whenever that time comes, and give a nod and a smile to a life well lived.  A genuine, authentic, one-of-a-kind life experience.  That is something that I – and all of us – deserve.

You know how sometimes a message will knock you over the head, out of the blue.  The universe has a way of delivering just what we need to hear, at just the right time.  I was in the gym a couple of mornings ago training chest when a song came on Pandora that I’d never heard.  It cut so deep into me that I had to fight to keep from tearing up between sets.  It was so visceral, so raw, and I connected with it on a deep level.  It also helped me see a serious block that I have in many areas of my life.  This song exposed one of my most established and deep-seated gremlins.  It was about feeling deserving.

The song is “Accountable” by Rob Bailey and the Hustle Standard. Listen to it here.

The lyrics, “I deserve every minute of this” are what slapped me.  Not just the words, but the passion and intensity with which Rob sings them.  As I sat there on the incline bench listening to this song for the first time, I realized that I deserve every minute of this.  This is whatever I decide it to be.  I deserve whatever it is I decide to go after in life – whether it’s making my first million, or living in a tent with my dog, or taking on a new athletic competition – I deserve it.

I don’t deserve anything because I’m entitled to it – I’m not entitled to shit.  But I do deserve everything that I set my sights on, commit my heart to, and pursue with all I’ve got.  I deserve those things.

Guys, this was a moment for me.  My whole life, I’ve had this deep feeling of undeserving.  I think that’s why I struggle so much with my birthday (stupid as it is) – I don’t feel deserving of recognition on my birthday.  Maybe this is why I’ve struggled so much with love and finding someone who is truly right for me – because I don’t believe I deserve it.  Likely, that’s why I can sometimes self-sabotage with things I truly want and am completely capable of achieving….because I don’t feel deserving.

…I deserve every minute of this…

It was a paradigm shift.  The lyrics of one song, one line belted out with such passion and fire.  It changed something in me.  It brought out that gremlin of self-deprecation for me to clearly see. I’m not going to waste any time trying to understand why I’ve felt undeserving – I don’t feel this gremlin is worthy of too much examination.  He’s already siphoned too much from my life over the last 36 years.  His time is up.

I really do deserve every minute of this.  And so do you.

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