Extra credit.

I think there are certain things we all know we’re capable of achieving. Other times when it comes to something out of the ordinary, we second guess ourselves.

We may think we’re not good enough, talented enough, smart enough, worthy enough or deserving enough. We may even bother to wonder where these feelings come from inside us, as others in our circle of friends or in our family don’t seem to have the same issues. You might begin to wonder whether they live under a lucky cloud, or you may feel as though they live a charmed life.

They don’t. Nobody does, really. Everyone has to work for something, or work at something; if anyone says they don’t, then they’ve sacrificed something valuable along the way, most likely — and not necessarily something tangible. Maybe they’ve sacrificed a sense of self, a sense of duty, honor or work ethic.

Regardless, this isn’t about them. This is about us — the ones who don’t always give ourselves enough credit.

What’s our deal? Why are we wired this way?

While some might’ve lost their identity along the way, we seem to be hyper-aware of our own; scrutinizing it is seemingly our favorite pastime. We know we need to let up, go a bit easier on ourselves, and we wish that we could see the things others say they see in us. Some days we succeed at this. Other days, not so much.

I have to remind myself sometimes that acting is a big part of life. People do it on the job, with their kids — everywhere. We act when we’re lacking confidence but we don’t want anyone to know that we’re nervous to give that big presentation. We act when our child’s questions about the birds and the bees and every other grown up topic causes some seat-squirming; where are the years going? Why can’t they stay little forever?

In cases of self-doubt or when my confidence us waning, I act. Acting can go a long way. Think about it: people don’t go into battle knowing who will win or lose — each side has the confidence, whether genuine or not, that they’ll win. Even if they’re terrified, they’d never let the enemy see them sweat. Nor should we.

People don’t set out to conquer a dream because they know they’ll succeed. They set out because they figure, “Why not?” They set out because not trying is more painful than trying and hearing a “no,” or a “try again.”

Give yourself more credit. Get after it — whatever it is in your life. What do you have to lose? Nothing. Your pride may become a bit bruised, but nothing is too big to try for.

And for knowing this, I am thankful.

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