I've always been a very competitive person regardless of what kind of activity I'm participating in. I get very serious when there's something to win. I am NOT FUN to play Monopoly with. Just ask my friend Chrissy - several years ago we were playing and disagreed about the rules and the argument ended abruptly with me throwing my money across the table and saying, “WHATEVER! YOU WIN!" I still cringe and laugh at the same time remembering that. I threw MY MONOPOLY MONEY at my dear friend - I am a ridiculous person.
I took roller derby practice very seriously and would often yell at my teammates to shut up if they weren't paying attention during practice. I practiced my clarinet and choir parts in high school obsessively in order to make sure my performance was as close to perfect as you can get - I would practice so much that I got bored and would teach myself extra instruments over summer break.
This has fed into the larger narrative of my life in ways I haven’t been able to articulate until the last couple of years of self discovery and therapy and slowing down. Motherhood put me in the backseat of life in a lot of ways and forced me to look at my “false” or “shadow” self closely and ask questions and really pay attention to how I was feeling instead of trying to fix it. When I teach the Enneagram I refer to this as nonjudgemental observation and practicing it can be hard work.
Before becoming a mom I was in graduate school for social work. I just assumed I would attend through the pregnancy, graduate on time and work toward my clinical licensing without missing a beat. Life sure is funny like that, because all of a sudden I had this deep desire to be with my baby as much as possible. I didn’t want to look back on my kids first 6 years of life and just see a blur of tests and holidays.
I quit school, decided to stay home and began the process of wrestling with this deep seeded fear that I was going to miss out, that there wouldn’t be room for me when I was done being a mom. I watched my friends from school graduate and start working toward their LCSW (what I wanted to do). I was surrounded by creative people pursuing their dreams and I felt like I was getting left behind. There was a pendulum that swung between two extremes. One day I’d be completely content with where I was at, blissfully thankful for the chance to stay home and watch my kids grow up and confident I’d figure out the next step when I got there. The next minute I would swing to feeling panicked - who hires someone after they’re out of the workforce for seven years and they didn’t really have a career before they left? Will I have to start from the very bottom of a new profession?
I would look around and see other moms killing it - owning businesses and staying home with their kids. When I tried this I just couldn’t find the balance, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice the quality time with my kids or with Kyle just to get ahead a little bit, but there was a deep resentment growing in me while I watched my husband and my friends succeed in their careers. I couldn't embrace what was mine because I was scared that if I grabbed it with both hands and took hold of it fully that something else may slip away from me, gone forever. Essentially I felt I was “just” a mom, and that didn’t feel good. Since I felt that way I projected it onto everyone else and for the first 2.5 to 3 years after Savannah was born I was convinced that everyone tolerated me and only wanted to be friends with me because I was married to Kyle.
Y’all, being a human is hard.
A couple years ago I read "You Are A Badass" by Jennifer Sincero and it was one of the most encouraging books I’ve ever read. I had to let some of it go because it wasn’t for me, but I was really impacted by her emphasis on believing the universe is abundant and giving and gracious and has enough for all of us. Here’s an excerpt from her chapter entitled ‘Give and Let Give’
“When we trust that we live in an abundant universe and allow ourselves to give freely, we raise our frequency, strengthen our faith, and feel awesome, thereby putting ourselves in flow and the position to receive abundant amounts in return. When we’re in fear, we hold on to what we’ve got because we don’t trust that there’s more. We pinch off the energy, we’re scared to share, and we focus on, and create more of, the very thing we’re hoping to avoid, which is lack.”
Then in her chapter on money titled ‘Money, Your New Best Friend’ she drops this truth bomb:
“Once you understand that we live in an abundant Universe, you can also drop the limiting brief that you serve the world better by not taking too much for yourself or by getting too big. Your playing small simply withholds your gifts from the people who were meant to receive them, including you. “
And then one more, y’all this book is really good.
“There comes a point where we need to hand the job over the The Universe. This doesn’t mean that we give up or discontinue taking action. This means we let go energetically, release our kung fu grip and create some space for what we want to come to us. It’s about allowing instead of forcing. It’s about releasing and trusting that if it’s in alignment with our life’s purpose, it will come back to us (or that something or someone even more perfect will come in its place.) It’s about surrendering and letting The Universe do its thing while holding faith that our highest desire will come into our lives.”
Living in the United States, and more specifically in Dallas, Texas, makes it very hard to remember this little fact: there is enough for all of us. We are socially programmed to believe that you have got to hustle and get it done before everyone else, that you’ve got to “get yours.” Harder better faster stronger - the best, number one. There are many things I love about my city but the push to always be busy and be the best and run that rat race or risk missing out is exhausting at times.
After putting the business on hold last year I’ve had to repeatedly overcome this fear that by the time I’m ready to get the ball rolling that there will be no one left who hasn’t heard of the Enneagram or still wants to attend my workshops. I’ve had friends dive deep into the Enneagram, some of them starting to teach it themselves, and I’ve had to stop and breath in the belief that there is enough for all of us. I have to rest in the knowing that God called me to this and that as long as I’m sensitive to that calling and follow it obediently that I will get what is mine to have.
Not only that, I want to support those friends who are pursuing the Enneagram. I want to work with them and learn from them and share the wisdom I pick up along the way. I want to work with friends who are also in the business of helping people grow - I want to learn from them and encourage them when I can. I want to be able to let go of what isn’t mine to do and fully grasp what I know is mine. Life is so much more enjoyable this way than seeing everyone around me as competition. There is no competition - there's enough for all of us.
I want to encourage you today if you are believing that if someone else gets something it means that it won’t be there for you - because you’re right. It won’t be. It isn’t yours. It's theirs.
However, if you can get out of your ego long enough to raise your head up and look around you’ll have a better chance at finding what is yours. This moment right now is all we’ve got, so commit and hustle for what you know is yours to have right now and try to appreciate the journey for what it is.