Don’t feel guilty. I got caught up in it too.
I sat in my family room watching documentaries about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle–their lives, their relationship, and their first interview. I couldn’t believe I was so entranced. I don’t read tabloids or idolize celebrities, so I was surprised by how mesmerized I was watching what brought these two seemingly ordinary yet extraordinary individuals together.
I don’t know if it was the fact that Meghan was so articulate and reminded me of my sweet daughter or because we don’t have royalty in the United States, but I sat there compelled to watch. The timing of their relationship seems so perfectly orchestrated along with the beautiful and sentimental ring (well done Harry), and their genuine loyalty and affection for each another is touching. It really is a fairy tale story, but I think there’s something even deeper about it that draws us in.
We can relate to them.
Perhaps not the royalty or TV star part, but because of the chapters in their lives that were not so serene–from the death of a parent to the drugs and alcohol used to mask that pain, from being a military veteran to feeling like your life is scrutinized by others, from trying to understand your identity to hitting roadblocks in your dream career to going through a difficult divorce. On a small scale, we can relate to some aspect of their lives, and it makes us feel connected to them.
Right now you may be in a chapter of your life that’s “not so serene” where you’re scared, unsure, or desperately trying to reach out and take hold of and shape your life story. You may be at the beginning of a new chapter in your book or polishing the closing sentence on another one, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that your story is being written every day.
If you find yourself in that particularly difficult chapter right now, here’s my advice to you.
Start where you are
Do your best and take things one step at a time.
We’ve heard a million times how damaging comparisons can be. Ironically though, the most effective comparison you should make is with yourself. We are not talking about having mentors or learning from experts who challenge us to greater heights. We are talking about the discouragement that comes from viewing others on the playing field of life either above or below them. Instead, when we hone into our own progress, it’s empowering. Comparisons with others are disheartening.
Open your heart and experience gratitude about this moment right now where you are. Remember to frequently pause and give thanks for how far you’ve come while you’re in the midst of moving forward with your dreams and plans.
Bloom where you’re planted.
This phrase was made popular by Mary Engelbreit, an illustrator and graphic artist. She also said something else which relates to this idea of how we can bloom where we’re planted.
“If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
It’s not always feasible or possible to immediately change your circumstances. Your story may demand paramount faith like was required of Queen Esther and Ruth in the Bible, for example. It may require every ounce of tenacity and patience you can muster, but those character deepening, soul stretching plots are what make the story so compelling.
This is the first chapter of my own writing and blogging adventure. I finally jumped onto WordPress yet have suffered from writing paralysis halted even further by a steep technology-learning curve. A month later, I still have demo posts lamely perched on my site. It’s time to delete those and keep writing my story, and it’s time for you to write yours.
It won’t be perfect, and that’s okay.
Just take it each minute, each hour, and each day. Don’t let fear stop you from creating and shaping your unique contribution, even if you feel like it’s too small to be noticed.
Your next chapter may not include moving into a royal palace, but every time you move forward with hope when you want to despair, you’ll be writing your own fairy tale ending. As you start where you are and bloom where you’re planted, perhaps one of the best things you can do is keep a positive outlook and focus on the opportunities instead of the scarcity.
Meghan demonstrated that attitude beautifully when she summed up her royal relationship and the new life ahead of her.
“I don’t see it as giving anything up. I just see it as a change. It’s a new chapter,” she said.
I couldn’t agree more.