Catia Hernandez Holm Speaker Author The Courage to Become TEDx.jpg
Let Go of the Rope

Originally published on 8-11-12

Remember tug of war? Remember trying with all your might, and getting rope burn on your grade school hands? Remember wishing you and your team were just a teeny bit stronger so that you could win? Me too. 

But do you also remember what happened when one of your brilliant team mates convinced you all to "let go of the rope?" What happened then? The other team fell, and you stayed standing, rope burn free. :) 

I used to have a great desire to win, even if I had to rationalize my way into it. Get ready to be embarrassed for me. “Well, she’s taller, but my curves are better,” or “she’s got longer legs, but my arms are more toned,” or “she’s alright, but I have a Masters degree,” or “she can buy really fancy things, but at least I’m not in her loveless marriage.” I have convinced myself of some pretty shallow things in order to “win.”

I have been pulling on 'the rope' for a long time and my hands are tired. 

As I have evolved and have slowly but surely removed my head from my rear (woo hoo!), I have realized that if you’re trying to win you’re already losing.

If you’re trying to win, you’re missing the entire point. Abort mission.

But if I’m not trying to win, what am I trying to do? Who am I trying to be? How will I measure success?

I thought about it long and hard (you know how I do), and came up with the following words.

Kind. Funny. Smart. That is who I aim to be.

When I leave a room, or my friend’s house, or a job, or even this world, I would like to be regarded as kind and funny and smart. Those are my ideal ideals.  It took a few years to re-script my thought pattern, but being the prettiest, or the richest, or the most popular person in the room doesn’t matter to me anymore. Achieving these three qualities is more than a goal; it’s a code of conduct. 

If people (all people get a vote…my family and friends, the attendant at the cleaners, Beau’s awesome veterinarian, colleagues, my favorite bartender) regard me as kind, funny or smart I am elated.

Letting go of the rope was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. 

I am not trying to catch up to someone else, or someone’s idea of who I should be, I am just me. If I can walk gracefully through life learning and contributing to society, being silly and making folks laugh along the way all while being kind, I will consider that a success. 

No more winning and losing, no more tired hands from playing tug of war with imaginary standards -- I'm just trying to be the kindest, funniest, smartest person I can be. 

love and grace, catia 

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