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My greatest obstacle...

Female. Minority. Limited family income. Frequent change of environment. Parents often explosive and hostile relationship. Lack of relationship with extended family. Prejudice. I could create a lengthy list of hurdles; however, I find strength in my resiliency, thus these characteristics of my youth could be deemed a blessing. The true obstacle of my success and happiness is myself. That’s right--you read that correctly--I am my greatest obstacle.

I have yet to overcome my own fears and insecurities, but I have progressed from a highly introverted child to an adult willing to take more risks and willing to seize opportunities when presented. If it is at all possible, I think I fear success. I fear the responsibility involved with success. Higher expectations of self and from others. A greater responsibility. Change of venue. Physical distance from those I love. Public scrutiny. I fear what I know is possible. I fear extracting myself from my comfort zone.

My greatest obstacle is myself. Though I recognize my ability to succeed, I also have a tendency to dwell on the “what if.” What if I fail? What if I am not as capable and talented as I believe? What if I succeed but fail to cope with the scrutiny? What if I succeed and I become enamored by the spotlight and lose sight of my true goal and value system? I often find that I am anxious. I lose my focus--my ambition--my will.

My greatest obstacle is myself. I expect more from myself but I do not believe I deserve more. I honestly have no true perception of what “more” would entail. I have become so comfortable with my current position in life--in society--that I am unable to discern who it is I could be. Who I should be. Who I want to be.

Yet this restlessness is deeply rooted within my psyche. I recognize that I hinder myself and incessantly evaluate how I organize my day; what is it that I can eliminate so I can focus on my true desires. I frustrate myself when I neglect my worth found by doing what I love and instead, giving my time and energy to others. It is a choice I make based on obligation, guilt, or a fear of being alone to face my fears and sometimes feelings of desolation.

My greatest obstacle is myself. I sought self-confidence, ironically, in the companionship of another. I hoped for motivation and admiration from my companions and found myself walking behind them instead. I allowed myself to allow them to dominate the relationship instead of creating a symbiotic relationship. I did not express my dismay that they did not recognize my desires or appreciate what I wanted to contribute to the world community. I did not express my disappoint that they appeared to be more concerned with what they could accumulate instead of how they could grow. I always feared that they would leave me if I expressed my discontent with the relationship and with my ‘self’; however, they left me anyway. Ironic.

My greatest obstacle is myself. So how is it that I overcome my ‘self’? Experience and more time spent with ‘self’ throughout the years has contributed to a greater appreciation of who I am and what I have and will accomplish. Every stumble--every injury--every recovery--has ultimately resulted in a realization that ‘I can.’ So simple a statement often heard in childhood stories that resonates throughout my mind and being.

My greatest accomplishment is myself. I have never contented myself with just being ‘okay.’ I have never, and will never, cease my curiosity of my environment and drive to research answers. I appreciate my desire to experiment with life. I am in awe of my resiliency despite the ease of sliding into a state of deeply rooted melancholy. My greatest accomplishment is that I utilize my environment, my resources, and my strong support system to nourish ‘me’ and eventually--maybe someday soon--I will flourish.

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