My current WIP has me thinking a lot about who we want to be, as individuals, versus who we really are. And how sometimes the two have to be reconciled.
Let me give you some examples.
I want to be a selfless mom, with endless amounts of patience, one who always sits down to play a game at a moment's notice, or never fails to make her girls giggle when they really feel like crying. That's the way I sometimes think it should be. But who am I? I'm a mom who can only take so much before she needs a break. I'm one who can't always drop what she's doing, or who feels like maybe a good cry would feel better than a giggle. Does this mean I'm a selfish mom? Not at all. It means I've discovered who I really am within the context of motherhood, and that I choose to be realistic about what I can expect from myself.
I also, at times, wish I could fit the "ideal" of a successful writer. I want to be one who carries the needed amount of discipline wherever she goes, who fights the negative thoughts, who sets time aside each day no.matter.what. And yet... Discipline is the hardest thing about writing. Sometimes sitting myself down to the task (or chapter) at hand, to really work at it, proves incredibly difficult. I fear rejection and judgment and failure. And I haven't yet come to terms with routine. Do I wish I could sit down and write for a solid chunk of time, every day from 8-10 am? Absolutely. Does my current life situation allow for it? Nope. But none of this means I can't be successful. It's coming to terms with who I really am as a writer, of that which I'm capable of at this time in my life. And making it work for me, instead of cursing it.
Being honest with ourselves, about who we really are, opens us up to our potential. Because if we're realistic about that potential, we won't fail. When we entertain thoughts of if only I had more time or if I could be better at [insert here], we set ourselves up for disappointment.
Don't think about what you could do, if. Think about what you can do, because you are.
And do it.