About three months ago, I was driving along in my car and flipping between NPR and a local pop radio station. It was still morning, and I wasn’t expecting to hear much outside of the news and the same set of pop songs on rotation. Well, I was wrong. The radio dj introduced the newest song from Colbie Caillat called “Try”, and to be honest, I really loved it.
It didn’t have the heavy beats or the vocal gymnastics that seem to be a prerequisite to get on the radio these days. Don’t get me wrong, I like those kinds of things when they are done well, but it was refreshing to find a song that seemed to be built completely around its message. Caillat doesn’t over-sing or over-sell this song either. It just floats gently along with very little drama, all the while not losing an ounce of its effectiveness.
To me, the best part of this song is its message. I’ve been thinking about it a whole lot ever since I heard it three months ago on the radio.
We live in a time when we are encouraged and expected to try our hardest at just about anything, to do our best, to BE our best. Women are pressured to look and dress as beautifully as possible. Men are pressured to be fit and macho. We are all pressured to be successful and smart with all kinds of other things.
This particularly strikes home with me since I have always been the kind of person to do my best and try extra super hard to accomplish or be something. I’ve come to learn that my successes had little bearing upon how I actually felt about myself. Achievement and a poor self-image can co-exist just as much as failure and a poor self-image can. I know this all too well.
The problem is that we let these pressures, goals, and expectations get mixed up with how we view ourselves. Ultimately, whatever the outcome of our efforts, we, every single one of us, are worthwhile, lovable, and amazing in our own ways. Whether we succeed or fail, have makeup on or not, have huge muscles or not, have the best clothes or not, we need to see, protect, and celebrate the beauty and tremendous self-worth that we inherently have regardless of any of those actions and possessions.
In the end, we don’t have to try to be anything. We can just be. Be who we are. Be who we want to be. And this is enough. This is plenty. This is everything.
On the day each of us was born, we were all cute, valuable, lovable, and adorable just as we were. At what point did this change?
What if how we saw ourselves directly affected what we did with our lives? If we loved and believed in ourselves, what if that prompted us to do great things and effect positive change within our own lives?
So, if you haven’t heard it already, here is the video for the song I’m raving about. (I’ve also included the lyric video.) Thankfully, the song and video focus on women’s self-image, but I really believe that the message is far more universal.
Underneath all of those things that make you look gorgeous or more likable and popular, there is someone who is already pretty damn amazing.
It’s true. We don’t have to try so hard. The value that we see in ourselves is only as good as we make it.
The next time you are by yourself. Take off that shiny jacket and those cool shoes. Let your hair down. Wipe off your makeup. Peel off every layer.
Then ask yourself if you like who you see.
If you don’t, that’s ok, for now.
Just know that the only answer that truly matters is the one you give to yourself.