We all have things about us that make us feel sad and weak.
There’s nothing we can do about them. Or, so it seems.
They’re like stains in our favorite clothes that will never come out.
No matter how much we try to scrub them clean or pretend they’re not there, they’re never going away. They’ll be with us forever.
Life will never be the same again. You’re no longer perfect.
Or, so it seems.
The longer you’ve been living on this earth, the more stains you seem to accumulate. Or, the better you get at blocking them out of your mind. Probably both.
Your stains may not be a big deal to other people. Maybe you’ve revealed your deepest, darkest stains and found this to be true. Maybe you’ve witnessed other angst-filled people confess their stains and thought those people shouldn’t be crippled by them. Their stains were no big deal to you.
But it doesn’t matter what other people think about your stains. What matters is what you think about them.
Are those stains that will never come out holding you back?
Or, are they driving you to become a better person who contributes more to other people because of them?
One of my many stains started happening when I was 19 years old. I’d wake up to clumps of hair on my pillow. How compromised will my existence on this planet be when I’m bald? Will I ever be respected? Will I ever find a girl who will love me? Could I ever become a bodybuilding star with a bald head? Keep in mind that, back in those days, the only famous bald people were Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, the cartoon character on the Mr. Clean bottles, and Yul Brynner (Google him).
The thoughts of my “inadequacy” consumed my mind all the way up until the day I shaved my head at 34 years old. It was like a million pounds of pressure immediately left my body. It was the stain I never had to deal with ever again. My #1 stain in life was now eliminated. Yes. I know it sounds silly now but the sadness and weakness was real to me back then.
I was now free to live a life of unlimited power and potential, right?
You know what happened? Stain #1 (my bald head) was immediately replaced by Stain #2 for that one thing in life that made me feel the saddest and weakest. The intensity was just as powerful. The funny thing is that I don’t even remember what that was as I write this.
I wish I could tell you that going bald was the one stain in my life that caused me to feel the sadness and weakest. It’s not even close.
There have been many stains that have had powerful runs at #1 only to be replaced by a new “champion.” I’ve learned that there will always be a painful and sad #1 . . . to ME.
In this era of “transparency,” you may think that telling the world about your stains is necessary and therapeutic. I’m not so sure I agree with that. There will always be a new #1 so you’ll always need to be revealing something.
It doesn’t matter if I told you every one of my stains. Most people would think they are no big deal. Some people may find inspiration in knowing them all. Some people would be relieved knowing that they’re not the only one who is silently suffering because of their own stains that are never going to come out.
All that matters is what I think about my stains. Will the sadness and weakness they’ve created inside stop me from creating the best life possible anyway? Or, will they drive me to become a better person who