I always used to think there was a specific formula for making friends. Introduction + Small Talk + Wit + Knowledge + Funny Mannerisms + Making People Laugh Until They Pee = BFFs. I spent so much time obsessing over the phenomena of establishing friendships, because quite frankly, I sucked at it. Even when I thought I had the formula down to a science, it never EVER went the way I wanted it to. People either liked my older sister better or gave me those pasted-on, polite smiles that you could tell were covering up the fact that they were devising an excuse to walk away.
The irony of it all was that if I had simply gotten out of my head and relieved myself of that pressure, it probably would have been a hell of a lot easier to make friends. And that’s exactly what happened, years later into my 20s: I finally got out of my own way, and now I have the best friendships I could have ever asked for.
Introducing the Anti-Bacon: A Pain in the Ass (Or the Head, Really)
There’s this thing I’ve decided to call the Anti-Bacon. The Anti-Bacon consists of all those thoughts that punish you for not knowing all the answers. It makes you doubt your glorious bacon (i.e., your true, unadulterated self). Life is just not going your way, so the Anti-Bacon swoops in and beats the crap out of you, holding you to ridiculously high standards. It tells you that you’re supposed to know all the answers, scolding you for not knowing; for not being as good as everyone else appears to be. Cue the guilt and self-hate talk.
And suddenly your problems get bigger and bigger, causing you more anxiety attacks and low self-esteem.
The Anti-Bacon trap is an easy one to fall into. But I’m here to tell you that whatever the Anti-Bacon tells you, it’s 100 billion percent FALSE. Anti-Bacon messages are LIES. The only way they hold any significance is if you continue to feed the Anti-Bacon beast.
Here’s the thing: if you’re desperately looking for answers, asking for signs, trying to figure something out but you just can’t seem to wrap your head around it and see no answers in sight…
*Wait for it*
…you’re thinking too hard and putting all that pressure on yourself for nothing.
The bottom line is that we are not perfect beings. We are not supposed to know all the answers. Would you expect a 5-year-old to know trigonometry? Yes, there are some child geniuses out there who do, but we know that whether someone is a genius or not is ultimately determined by our genetics; our DNA. We know that not everyone can possibly be expected to know trigonometry that young. It’s just not natural.
I’ve always been a perfectionist. I always thought I was supposed to be perfect at everything, even before I had gone through the learning process. For example, when I couldn’t do a flip in gymnastics… at my first class… at the age of 5 or 6… I was convinced I was the stupidest, most worthless human being ever. I felt like everyone else had it all figured out, and I was supposed to just KNOW something I couldn’t possibly understand without first learning it. I still grapple with these Anti-Bacon thoughts to this day, such as with improv, socializing, and playing Operation as I yet again trigger that freakishly annoying buzzer when trying to get that damn wishbone.
Even when I finally started going to therapy and learning about my mental illness in my 20s, I kicked myself for not figuring out that I had OCD sooner.
We aren’t expected to have all the answers. In fact, the answers we need usually reveal themselves a lot faster and simpler when we take that pressure off of ourselves. We are not God. We were not meant to know everything. If you can’t see any answer in sight and feel like you’re drowning in desperation, take comfort in this: you don’t have to know. You can relieve yourself of that responsibility. It’s not your job to MAKE yourself know the answers. For some reason or other, you simply aren’t meant to know the answers right now, even if other people seem to have them.
When the answer does come, it will come naturally and when you’re not pestering yourself to figure it out. You don’t have to think so hard. If 4-year-old you were to come to you for help with the same issue you’re struggling with now, would you slap him/her across the face and say, “Try harder!”? No, I don’t believe you would (I hope). Imagine picking up your 4-year-old self, sitting yourself on your knee, and comforting yourself with words you deep-down know to be true:
Relax. You’re exactly where you are supposed to be. You are innately worthy; your mind is the only thing in your way. Let yourself just BE. You don’t have to know or figure out all the answers. You’re not doing anything wrong other than being unkind to yourself. And when the answer comes, don’t worry: it will be clear to you. You don’t have to make yourself be or do anything in order to see it. You will be ready. You don’t have to make yourself awesome; you already are. You just have to ALLOW that awesomeness to shine through. How? By getting out of your own way.
I promise you, the answer is always the simple one. It may not be the EASY one, but it won’t be as complicated as you’ve been making it out to be in your head. Let go of your need to know the answers. Tell that Anti-Bacon to stuff a stick of butter in it.
And if that means making that operation game buzz like the dickens in the process, so be it. (Unless you’re an actual surgeon, in which case, I’ll be getting my tonsils removed elsewhere, thanks, bye.)