Accept it: You’re Only Human!
Is Having it All Together Really Worth It?
How many times have you scrolled through social media to see messages like…
I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
If you want it badly enough, there are no limits to what you can achieve.
Good things happen to those who hustle.
Fake a smile and move on.
…and then you keep scrolling to see perfectly shot and edited photos of gorgeous people seemingly living their best lives?
Put these two things together and you begin to internalize the sentiment that you need to work your ass off if you want to have a great life.
So, you do.
You work a full-time job and have a side hustle; you pour cup after cup of coffee to stay up all night working to make your dreams come true; you go through each day exhausted and anxious.
I can relate to this journey because I have been there. I was the person that I just described for many, many years! Until, one day, I decided that enough was enough. I deserved — I NEEDED — more out of life! So, I went and got it.
Today, I want to offer you the option to take a different path, just like the one I took — a path that is paved with freedom, serenity, and the opportunity to find your true self.
First, let’s go back to where my journey started.
My Journey to My Human Self
“The best way to lighten your mood is to lift the weight of the world off of your shoulders.”
– Rob Liano
My family had its fair share of struggles when I was a kid. As I got older, I promised myself that I was going to be successful. I was determined to avoid the struggles that my family had to go through. I fantasized being like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk — people who were laser-focused and, as a result, made huge impacts on the world!
I went to a school for graphic design and got a decent job after graduation — but it wasn’t enough for me! Not for this guy who thought he knew best. So, I did some freelance graphic design on the side. Eventually, I got the grand idea to turn my side hustle into a successful business. I saw this path as one that would redeem my family’s past struggles.
What could go wrong?
Juggling multiple obligations, I worked so hard — nights, weekends, even while I was on “vacation.” Every day, I went to sleep around 2 a.m. and got about 5 hours of sleep. Rinse and repeat, I lived like that for many years. I missed out on spending valuable time with my loved ones; I was a ball of stress and anxiety; I fed my body fast food to save time and was constantly hopped up on caffeine.
Surprisingly, my health started to decline. I started to gain weight. My few hours of sleep per night turned into practically zero; I struggled with insomnia and bouts of depression was also a normal thing at this time.
Stop? No. I had to stay strong and never ever admit defeat because, in my mind, that’s what we’re supposed to do. That’s the message mass society has been broadcasting to us over and over. And besides, these are only small sacrifices in order to make it big, right? I thought if I could just work a little harder and reach the dream, then everything would be better.
One night while I was working, I noticed my breath was shortening, I became light-headed and I thought I just needed some sort of a break. I left my house and took a walk through the park. Instead of getting better, the situation got worse. As I walked, I felt like I was going to faint. I was experiencing a full-blown panic attack.
That moment was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
Luckily, I made it to the nearest bench and was able to gather myself. I sat there for a while as my mind started to ponder the circumstances of what just occurred.
How did I get here? Because I convinced myself that I had to? Because I listened to humanless messages that I read online? Have I allowed these messages to oppress me? These questions and more helped me see my life from a different perspective. I saw what I was doing to myself. I saw that if I continue on this path, something worse may happen in the near future. If my life was portrayed in one of those expectations versus reality memes, I finally saw my reality side — the side that I was refusing to see for the longest time.
That night, with tears streaming down my eyes, I admit to myself that I was broken.
I decided to surrender my desire to God Mode my way through this game of life and truly embrace being human at that moment. I quit the race to be the best. I quit striving to be perfect. Let those who want it, have it. As for me, I’m done! Let the people call me weak. Let them call me a loser. I no longer care. I have accepted that I am who I am! This person who is consistently stressed and on the verge of burnout is not who I am any longer.
You could say the world that I worked endlessly to build and to uphold for years had finally come crashing down. That life was shattered into rubbles and debris. Later, I would see it as being a blessing in disguise. It became an opportunity to build back up again. This time, how I wanted. I could finally build a life that fits me and not the other way around. I kept the pieces that worked for me and discarded everything else. I made my life as simple as possible and practice principles such as the four burners theory introduced to me by my friend Saeid.
Currently, I would say my life is still a work-in-progress (but whose isn’t, right?). It is imperfect — and, to me, that’s perfectly human. What I am sure of is that I’m happier and healthier compared to those days. The days of depression have become a thing of the past more often than not.
The best part of all is that I now live a life where I am free to be truly myself. I can embrace the quirkiness of my personality, the emotions that I feel in allowing myself to cry if I need to, and the release of the world’s expectations of who I’m meant to be. I am free! What’s not to love about that?!
Admittedly, I’m occasionally fighting the temptation to fall back into the old ways of pushing myself past my human limitations. The message of overworking and striving for perfection is a hard one to avoid. It is everywhere as it’s deeply ingrained in today’s hustle culture and our subconscious. I try to live consciously to not let these messages be the main voice of reasoning and have added into my life messages that reminds me that I am only human such as…
It’s okay to not be okay.
There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you have had enough.
We must learn our limits. We are all something, but none of us are everything.
Life changes for the better when we realize that we don’t have to know everything and we don’t have to pretend we do.
Stop Playing God, Embrace Your Human
“What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human.”
– Brené Brown
As soon as I stopped trying to keep up with the false image of success I made up in my head, I started to become more aware of the people around me. I realized that nearly everyone in my life was operating the same way, and I could see what they were doing so clearly.
Everyone pushes themselves far beyond their human limits — working more than 40 hours per week, pressuring themselves to get into the best school, get the best job, have the best car, and the best house. We’re trying to outlast one another to be the best of the best — a god amongst gods.
To me, this is playing God. To be God, one must have the attributes of being unlimited in power, strength, and knowledge. God is defined as an everlasting and all-around perfect being. Playing God is the idea of being wanting to be seen, heard and known as someone who can do everything, knows everything, always seen as in control and perfect in all areas of life — essentially, someone who has it all together.
We are none of these. We’re mere humans; limited and lasting. We are flesh and blood that requires 8 hours of sleep, nourishing foods, and plenty of water. Our mental and emotional state can only handle so much before we have meltdowns. At times we’re tired. At times we don’t know it all. At times we don’t have it all together. We have limitations.
I don’t want you to think that I am trying to discourage people from having aspirations and dreams. Aspiration and ambition are wonderful things. I’m simply proposing that we slow down and analyze our path every once in a while. Ask yourself often if this is the life you truly want. If your current path to achieving those things is also costings things like your friendships, health, and sanity, is it truly worth it? Don’t let the hustle and grind lifestyle push you to go forth so fast that you miss out on what life is really about and on exploring your own unique identity.
Playing God can have deep consequences.
Putting so much pressure on yourself to be absolutely perfect will inevitably wear you down and give way to stress, anxiety, burnout, fatigue, anger, and loneliness. Then, your human mind will find ways to cope; to make it all seem okay and tolerable to continue the pursuit of God-like status– drugs, alcohol, junk food, a shopping habit… the list goes on. Coping mechanism is our way of comforting the deep cries of our souls. If we’re not careful, this could lead to addiction.
Playing God can keep you in the endless cycle of shame. The objective of this path is to always appear perfect. But when we fail or believe that we’re not good enough, we become inundated with shame, which can turn to depression. Then, we tell ourselves that success will bring us happiness. We work even harder to get out of that shame and closer to success. Yet, when we inevitably fail, the cycle just repeats and repeats.
Living life in the cycle can leave us always feeling like we’re on the edge. Jealousy and envy can overtake us when we see others that appear better than us. We avoid asking for help because it’ll reveal our weaknesses. We may be tempted to find ways to cheat the game of life.
If we do reach a certain level of success, it too, could have consequences. We may subconsciously look down on our peers and condescend them. We look at others as the ones who needs our help and we’re always giving out unsolicited advice and suggestions. We try to conform others to our standards instead of trying to see them for who they are. Thinking too highly of ourselves, or seeing ourselves as God amongst fellow humans, can result in the lack of true connections.
5 Reasons to Embrace Your Humanness
“Just let go. Let go of how you thought your life should be, and embrace the life that is trying to work its way into your consciousness.”
– Caroline Myss
Many years have passed since the night I decided to let go of my God complex. Since then, I have reaped many benefits! Here’s 5 key reasons I’d like to share on why I think everyone should embrace being human:
- You will have the power to say “no” to things that don’t matter to you.
Understanding your limits means that you don’t have to be everything to everyone. That understanding will empower you to say “no” to things that you don’t want to do or that you don’t have time for. As a result, you will start to build a life that is made up only of things that make you truly happy — things that speak to who you are as a unique human. You will have and understand boundaries that keep you healthy.
- You will gain a greater ability to say “yes” to the things that matter to you
As you eliminate things that don’t fit in your ideal version of life, you will begin to see more clearly the things that do fit. You will be empowered to say “yes” to the things that you really want in your life! It could be a self-care day, a weekend to rest and do absolutely nothing, more time with friends and family… saying yes to the things that make you feel alive within your life ultimately allows for more of what you want to come into it.
- You will have the ability to live freely as your authentic self
Embracing your human limitations isn’t actually limiting at all. It’s freeing! You will have the freedom to be yourself, to begin something new, to be bad at something, make mistakes, and start over again. You’re allowing yourself to ask for help when you need it and maybe even having a complete meltdown every once in a while. You have permission to be your authentic self, whatever that looks like. Everyone needs to scream and cry sometimes. The energy we intake all day has to go somewhere — internalizing it leads to stress, letting out is a cathartic release.
- You will see value in community
When you are less focused on yourself and the pursuit of being the best amongst others, you will see the value in the people around you. Rather than seeing others as distractions or competition, you will see them as your fellow humans and realize that we’re all in this together. You might even realize that you’re more apt to lend a helping hand to someone who needs it. You may end up seeing other people’s strengths as an opportunity for collaboration rather than being envious. I believe that the greatest success comes when we work together. Life is tough, but it’s a bit easier when we don’t have to bear the load alone — we can be better together. Stepping outside of the “bubble” you’ve created for yourself will help you see that.
- You will create deeper connections with others
When we come to terms with the fact that we don’t have it all together — and we don’t need to — we can be more honest with ourselves and others. That honesty allows us to connect with others on a deeper level. No more superficial interactions, everyone has different stories but our humanness is the most relatable part of all of us. It’s the core of who we are, what makes us unique, and gives us the ability to grow together. It is in this depth that true empathy, compassion, and love can manifest.
A Plea for Change
“Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. The world would go on even without you. Don’t take yourself so seriously.”
– Norman Vincent Peale
This post is to my fellow humans — my neighbors, friends, and family that I’ve seen constantly living with fatigue, stress, anxiety, and more. To the ones who feel they have to “get it all together,” the ones who consistently keep going full steam ahead, always devising a plan to try to hold their world together. Please stop trying to play God, rest, and accept that you’re human.