To answer the question, Who are you to do this?, you first have to get out of your head.

I use this phrase, out of your head, because that's where it's easy to get stuck. Somewhere between our hearts and our minds is an internal dialogue, a running commentary on what we think and feel and believe. It's the voices in your head that speak doubt and insecurity and fear and anxiety. Like a tape that's jammed on "repeat," these destructive messages will drain an extraordinary amount of your energies if you aren't clear and focused and grounded.

To get out of your head, it's important to embrace several truths about yourself and those around you, beginning with this one:

Who you aren't isn't interesting.

You have a list of all the things you aren't, the things you can't do, the things you've tried that didn't go well. Regrets, mistakes that haunt you, moments when you crawled home in humiliation. For many of us, this list is the source of a number of head games, usually involving the words, Not enough.

Not smart enough,
not talented enough,
not disciplined enough,
not educated enough,
not beautiful, thin, popular or hardworking enough, you can
fill in the .

Here is the truth about those messages:

They aren't interesting.

What you haven't done, where you didn't go to school,
what you haven't accomplished, who you don't know and what you are scared of simply aren't interesting.

I'm not very good at math. If I get too many numbers in front of me, I start to space out.

See? Not interesting.

If you focus on who you aren't, and what you don't have, or where you haven't been or skills or talents or tools or resources you're convinced aren't yours, precious energy will slip through your fingers that you could use to do something with.

In the same way that who you aren't isn't interesting when it comes to getting out of your head:

Who "they" are isn't interesting.

We all have our they—friends, neighbors, co-workers, family members, superstars who appear to skate by effortlessly while we slog it out. They are the people we fixate on, constantly holding their lives up to our life, using their apparent ease and success as an excuse to hold back from doing our work and pursuing our path in the world.

Siblings who don't have to study and still get better grades. Brothers-in-law who make more money without appearing to work very hard. Friends who have kids the same age as ours yet never seem stressed or tired and always look great.

In the movie Comedian, Jerry Seinfeld runs into a young comedian named Orny Adams backstage at a club where they are both performing and Orny says to him,"You get to a point where you're like, 'How much longer can I take it?' "

Jerry is utterly perplexed by Orny's sentiment, asking, "What—is time running out?"

Orny then begins a litany of complaints and excuses—"I'm getting older. . .I feel like I've sacrificed so much of my life."

Jerry is amazed, "Is there something else you would rather have been doing? Other appointments or places you gotta be?"

Then Orny pulls out a new line of complaints: "I see my friends are making a lot of money. . . Did you ever stop and compare your life? Okay, I'm twenty-nine and my friends are all married and they all have kids and houses. They have some sort of sense of normality. What do you tell your parents?"

Jerry's response: "Are you out of your mind? . . . This has nothing to do with your friends. It's such a special thing. This has nothing to do with making it."

I love those lines from Seinfeld:

This has nothing to do with your friends.
It's such a special thing.
This has nothing to do with making it.

Decide now that you will not spend your precious energy speculating about someone else's life and how it compares with yours.

We each have our own life, and every path has its own highs and lows, ups and downs, joys, challenges and difficulties.

When you compare yourself with others, you have no idea what challenges they are facing.

Bruce Springsteen struggled for years with depression. What? The Boss? His shows are three hours long, leaving everybody wondering, How does he do that? Bruce Springsteen, who seems to never run out of energy, who's thriving more than ever in his sixties.

Yes. The Boss has had his struggles. Everybody does.

We rob ourselves of immeasurable joy when we compare what we do know about ourselves with what we don't know about someone else.

You have your life.
And your life is not her life. Or his life.
And his life is not yours,
and neither is hers.

Is there any way in which you've been asking,
What about them?,
when the better question is,
What is that to you?

There will always be someone who's smarter than you.
There will always be someone with more raw talent than you.
There will always be someone more experienced and better qualified and harder working and stronger and more articulate and more creative with more stamina who can sing better than you can.
But who you aren't isn't interesting.
And who they are isn't interesting when it comes to who you are and what your path is.

How to Be Here Excerpted from How To Be Here, by Rob Bell. Copyright ©2016 by WORB, Inc. Published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


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