The Lies We Let Define Us
First, it's not complicated. It's goop that you squeeze into your hand and rub on your hair. Second, without it, little split ends stand up all over your head, making you look frazzled and eccentric in a bad way. There are very few affordable miracles-in-a-tube. Toothpaste is one of them. Hair gloss is another. Avail yourself.
10. "She's doing really well...so I won't or can't or never will."
Right this very second, there is somebody doing better than me. Her name is Christine. She is getting promoted and driving a fine, German automobile and raising kids who speak dolphin, whale and, of course, Mandarin. Did I mention that we went to college together? That she often stole my Grape-Nuts? That she was always kind of full of herself, but always kind of also deserved the accolades, because she is amazing? Here is the horrible thing I have to admit or go insane: Whether Christine wins the Nobel Success Prize or not will not keep me from also winning that same prize. The judges pick a bunch of people each year. They do not eliminate old friends of Christine or people who are jealous of Christine or people who just know Christine. They consider each person according to her own merits. There is room, in fact, for all of us reading this article to receive the Nobel Success Prize. We are all talented in ways that astonish and that come to light so much more brightly once we stop wasting energy on a thought that just isn't true.
11. "I'm not afraid."
Of course you are afraid. You're fighting a damn dragon. Or applying for the senior-level job. Or showing up at your mother's door, a woman you haven't seen in 15 years. Due to the nature of this lie, you may feel the need to cling to it for a while and let it protect you—as long as you know it is a huge, honking lie. At some point, however, you will have to silently admit to yourself that you're shaking in your boots. Only when this is done can you say to yourself, "I'm afraid...just not enough to stop doing what I've got to do." This last sentence can be distilled into a single word, the one needed to look the dragon in the eye, get through that interview or ring the bell and wait there on the welcome mat as your mother makes her way to the door: courage.
Leigh Newman is the deputy editor of Oprah.com and the author of Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown Up World, One Long Journey Home.
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