There’s nothing wrong with you.

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Have you ever asked yourself…

  • What’s wrong with me?
  • Why can’t I just be happy?
  • Why can’t I be more like ____ ?
  • Why isn’t anything ever good enough for me?
  • Is there really more out there? Or do I just have a bad attitude?

If you’ve asked yourself these questions, this post is for you.

There is nothing wrong with you.

Really, I could begin and end this post with that because it is the most important part.  It may be the most important thing you hear today.  Or ever.  But you may need to hear it over and over again to believe it, especially if you’ve spent a lifetime trying to figure out what, exactly, is wrong with you.

There is  nothing wrong with you.

What the hell am I talking about?

Specifically, I’m referring to the fact that some people seem to be blissfully content in any situation, and some of us are born with a yearning for something else.

There is a voice that whispers to us, telling us to search.  It makes us question and seek and continually climb.  It makes us constantly ask “could this be better?”  We wonder about things like callings and passion and purpose.  We watch for signs and listen for inspiration, clues that will tell us in which direction to move.  Because, of course, we must always be moving.  The tiny voice that no one else seems to hear is always there and it makes us who we are.

And it makes us feel out of place.

Because not everyone is asking themselves “what would make me happy?” Not everyone intrinsically knows that you mean something more than momentary joy when you use the word happiness.  Not everyone feels the desperate longing you do for more than content.

And that’s OK.

You’ve probably been told since you were a child that it’s OK to be different.  You know this on some level.  We have short people and tall people and light people and dark people.  We have talkers and listeners and musicians and mathematicians.  There are dozens of differences you have learned to accept about yourself and the people around you, and this is simply one more.

This is simply the way you were made.

Just as some of us are born with blond hair instead of brown, some of us are born to look at a flat world and wonder if it’s round.  For whatever reason, you were tapped to be one of the seekers.

Think about how hard you have worked to not search. Think about the books you have read on learning to be content, the mental exercises you’ve done to find happiness in small things, the pleading you have done with yourself to just be satisfied.  If it was possible for you to just shut up and be happy, don’t you think you would have by now?

It is your job to listen to questions that were given to you… or the world stays flat.

I know, because I was made this way, too.

And I’m OK.  I am happy in my day to day life, I find joy in the little things, and I am still always moving up the next mountain.  I promise you that it is possible to be someone who searches and still have peace, and the answer is not to stop being a seeker.

Neither is the answer to make everyone else more like you.

I remember when I first started trying to come to terms with the fact that I wanted to move out of Parkersburg, Iowa – and not everyone else did.  In an attempt to assure myself that it was normal to want to leave, I focused on how abnormal it was for anyone to be happy in that tiny town in the middle of nowhere.  Anyone who didn’t try to leave, I told myself, was simply too scared to let themselves dream bigger.

But that was just my own insecurity talking.

There’s nothing wrong with them, either.

Just as you were made to seek, some people were made to be still.  They may not be the people who discover the world is round, but they turn the settlements on foreign shores into homes and communities.  They offer security at the beginning and end of your adventures.

It’s easier to embrace who you are when you accept the differences in other people.  It stops becoming a rebellion, a struggle, a fight to be right so that you don’t have to be broken.

I cannot pretend to know all of the roles that need to be filled on this Earth, but I know that there are many.  I know enough about organizations and groups to know that they don’t keep moving forward unless a variety of jobs are performed – and performed well.

And I know that I was born with questions.

Were you?

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  1. Kirsten says:

    Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted more. I finally moved far away when I was 29, and I’m trying to become content with the fact that I’ll never be content with my life.

    I’ve read a lot of personal development blogs, but I think yours is the first one with the potential to really hit me at my core and speak to me. I’m really looking forward to reading more.

    • Miss Britt says:

      Content is a tricky concept. I think for me the key is to feel like I’m moving in the best direction possible at the time. That usually leads to something that feels way more than content.

  2. Katharina says:

    I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I am not a seeker. They are all over the place, and they can get really pushy. I am not a passionate, but a very practical person. “New shores? Yeah, whatever. Now let me just figure out a way how to get there.” And the seekers look at me like I was the crazy person, because I don’t share their excitement the way they think I should.
    You’re so right, we need each other and nobody should feel broken.
    Thank you for posting.

    • Miss Britt says:

      It never occurred to me that someone would feel like seekers are everywhere. I spent the first 25 years of my life feeling alone!

      Thanks for sharing this perspective. It’s always a good reminder.

      • Katharina says:

        I guess seekers don’t stay in places like Parkersburg, Iowa. Had you grown up in a place that attracts seekers (e.g. larger cities with a port, an airport, a university and such) you might have felt differently.
        The next seeker growing up in Parkersburg is probably facing the same problems as you, since you’ve gone.

  3. ourladybeth says:

    I, too, live with the perpetual yearn for something more. I
    am not unhappy though I am clearly never quite content. I needed
    this today… every day. It’s a post you a should be excited about.
    Thank you!

  4. Tina says:

    How amazing and inspiring. Thank you for that.
    I am always seeking the next thing. Always looking for something bigger to experience or do. I am learning that this is a good quality, but I am also slowly learning to accept the moment as it is. To enjoy each moment for what it brings me.
    Best,
    Tina

  5. Jared says:

    Well said. This spoke to me in my own way, probably not the way you had intended, but it did. Thanks

  6. I thought it was just me because of the ….financial situation I was in at my biological mother’s house,among other issues of my childhood and adolecence, that made me want to just GO…it’s kinda nice to know I’m not the only one who just feels discontentment at times and longs for change. I am trying o be better about making myself attain what I want – to go after it. But after years of being ingrained that I have “issues”, it’s harder to accept that it’s ok…thanks for writing this!

  7. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Miss Britt and Faiqa, allisonsreading. allisonsreading said: Miss Britt: There’s nothing wrong with you. http://bit.ly/dTI7y7 [...]

  8. Rich says:

    You hippies and your stinkin’ hippie thinking. All happiness and pixie dust and daisies and Lincoln Logs and, um, Connect Fours. Well, I’m onto you. Nobody is going to take away my misery. I keep it in a nice lucite case, and I dust it every other Thursday. So you and your centrist band of wahoos (yeah, I know, you don’t have to be leftist to be a hippie anymore. sigh) can keep your affirming, supportive, eye-contact-solidifying happy-crappy dipsy-doodle goober-nut sensibilities to yourselves.

    I’m happy here in the darkness, thank you very much.

    Love to all. Even you.

  9. Liza says:

    love this. great post britt. i feel like that too. i wonder what else there is. have that constant urge to move… thank you for this post.

  10. Rachel says:

    I’ve always felt this way. I’m always yearning for something more. I’m glad to know I’m not alone! :)

    • Miss Britt says:

      This has nothing to do with your comment, but I just spent a few minutes over at your blog and it was like cupcakes for the soul or something. No – something that’s good but doesn’t make you fat.

      Like sex.

  11. Britt, I LOVE this.

    My mom and sister live in the same small town in NH where we were born and are simply content to stay there for life without so much as seeing any of the world. My dad finally left when I was 22. He was never happy to just be there and felt stuck for years. I’ve been compared to him a lot lately – especially because we’re talking about moving to Aruba. He and I are both seekers. We love to travel, meet new people, and experience different cultures.

    Those who don’t seek just don’t understand us. They DO think something is wrong with us. It’s not that I am unhappy here. I just get itchy when I’m not exploring the world. I feel driven to meet and learn from new people. I like that you get it.

    • Miss Britt says:

      “They” don’t all think that. My husband is not what I would call a seeker. But he is amazingly open and supportive and totally up for going along for the ride and figures “well, hell, guess I might as well learn something about myself along the way”.

      I haven’t been to Aruba yet, but I’ve heard it’s the kind of place that makes you want to stay.

  12. Megan says:

    Were it not for the restless and searching we’d all be living in caves, probably without fire.

    It took me a long time to be comfortable with this aspect of myself, and there are people who will never understand that it doesn’t make you an unhappy person just because you are always reaching.

    I’m so glad you’re doing this… it’s like a road map of where you been and where you’re going.

    • Miss Britt says:

      “Were it not for the restless and searching we’d all be living in caves, probably without fire.” That’s what my mom always says! That or “clustered around the eastern seaboard”.

  13. Mandi Bone says:

    I don’t know how many times that I have said to Greg If I have have (fill in the blank) it will make me happy and I will be settled. Greg finally told me that I will never be settled.

    • Miss Britt says:

      That may or may not be true. But you seem like a pretty extraordinary person to me regardless.

      I’m not sure I will ever be settled.

      I’ve taken “ever” out of my vocabulary recently though because, well, shit happens. You know?

      • Mandi Bone says:

        I should also say that never settling has served me very well. If I had just been content I would have never fought doctors and gotten pregnant with Amelia. I would have let Greg just say no to adoption and we wouldn’t be Evelyn’s parents. I would have never awoke from the coma and learned to walk again. So while I would love just to be I also know that being this way has led to some very awesome things and people.

  14. Lisa says:

    My husband is definitely a seeker, and he struggles with content a lot. I think I am some kind of weird hybrid. I seek out new things while still making sure the home fires are burning. I’m not sure how that works, but I am content so it must.

  15. Kirsten says:

    I SO needed to read this today. There’s nothing like a good cry first thing in the morning (really!) and the knowledge that I’m not alone.

    • Miss Britt says:

      I need a word that is better than “awwww” and says “thank you for taking the time to say that because sometimes I am so excited when I write this stuff and then I think no one will get it and then you made me feel like it was worth saying.”

      Insert that word (here).

  16. i am totally a hybrid. pittsburgh is my passion and i never want to live anywhere else, but oh how i long to experience alaska, montana, the grand canyon. egypt, ireland, australia. so yeah, my home is here and every time i think about it my heart beats extra strong, but i’ll be crazy happy in orlando next week with you.
    and there is nothing wrong with me being me. :)

  17. Sarah says:

    Britt, I love you, I love the way you think, I love the new focus of your blog, and I love this post.

    You’re one of the most inspirational people I know – and one of the truest, if that makes sense. I’m so glad you’re sharing it with the world!

  18. Sherry says:

    Interesting concept. Growing up and in my teens, I would say I was a seeker. And then I married at 20 and spent the decade not seeking, just surviving (but definitely not content). Everything changed when I was 30 (that happens when you have your first child and become a widow within a few months of each other). I spent my 20s denying the seeker in me, but my husband is helping me find it again. He’s defnitely a seeker and I feel safe enough with him to seek along side.

    • Miss Britt says:

      I’m happy to hear that you have someone encouraging you again.

      And honestly? I think some people go way, way longer than 10 years denying themselves.

  19. Poppy says:

    I was born with a lot of questions.

    I am a seeker. I seek to find my true place in life, rather than the place I was handed, because it didn’t fit for me. I was surprised when those who do not seek questioned my need to seek, even after I had been successful in part of my search for 3 years. A family member asked me in November if I’d be moving back to Vermont because I had lost my job in New York City. That took me by surprise. To me being here is progress. To him being here is just a temporary stray from what I grew up with. And that’s ok that we approach this differently, but I’m not moving back to Vermont. :)

    Sherry’s comment resonates with me. I denied the Seeker in me for my married years. I won’t ever do that again. I hope.

  20. Hockeymandad says:

    Great post. Really great words here and they hit me pretty deep. Except now I have more questions…ugh!

    • Miss Britt says:

      Part of me wants to apologize because I know that first flood of questions can be so overwhelming and unsettling.

      But the other part of me is cheering “Go, Patrick, go!” – because you’re so freaking awesome and deserve bucket loads of bliss.

  21. I yearn to never be homeless again. I yearn to have all my bills paid in the month they’re due. I yearn to never have my car repossessed at my kids school as I’m trying to pick them up. When I ask myself what makes me happy… it’s the little things that matter most. It’s what I seek.

    Some day I hope to find it.

  22. Avitable says:

    I don’t know . . . you tell me there’s plenty wrong with me ALL THE TIME! Which Britt do I believe?

  23. BHJ says:

    This post made my eyes sting because I have always felt so fucking alienated while, at the same time, hating everyone else, meaning my will wasn’t aligned with the way things were, in actuality. That being: okay. It’s so startling simple and yet so perpetually difficult to acknowledge. I’m okay. So is everyone else. I’m going to go play “People are People” by Depeche Mode.

  24. I read this and went, “Huh. So THAT’S what I am!” I have always pursued one thing after another. I always have to be doing something new. I get bored easily — luckily not when it comes to romance, or else I wouldn’t have Mike! — and never settle on one hobby/passion/career/project/story/insertwhateverhere. I always have to be moving, not in a physical sense but definitely when it comes to trying new things. I always thought I just had a short attention span, or indecisive or something, that there was something wrong with me, that I should just be content with what I’ve got, dammit!

    Now it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. Thank you for this!

    • Miss Britt says:

      I’m not sure there’s any comment more rewarding for a blogger than thank you.

      So thanks to you, too.

      For all our talk of individualism, seems none of us really wants to be entirely unlike anyone else.

      • It’s true. People don’t like to feel alone! I like being myself, but I hate the feeling of not being understood. That’s why I love the blogging community, because there’s so many of us, it’s impossible not to find someone who gets it.

  25. FireMom says:

    I just made a HUGE change in my life today. And I’m quite freaked out. So this? This? I needed to read this.

    Thank you.

  26. Darla says:

    This is so good, this is really just SO GOOD!

  27. racheal says:

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much this was what I needed to hear right now.

    I did a big thing, in the search of happy and deserving, I did a big thing. And then, I got really really scared, and confused. I did it and I wanted to take it all back because this new normal was different and unfamiliar and scary.

    I thought, just settle Racheal, just be content. Just chill, just quit searching for the elusive happy and for God’s sake, please stop working on yourself.

    And then I read this, and it was the little kick I needed to just say, chill.

    To just remind me that I am exactly where I want to be and where I need to be.

    But more than that, that I am enough.

    Thank you, and welcome back.

  28. zchamu says:

    I think about this all the time. And it’s only been recently that I realized, I am just wired differently.

    There are people who can be content. And this doesn’t mean they don’t strive and work hard and try to better themselves or their lives; it just means that everything they do doesn’t come with the vast deep soul-searching that I face with everything I do. There are people who are wired to be happy and people who are wired to …. not. Accepting that made a big difference in accepting me.

  29. Amber says:

    For a long time, I would have said that I wasn’t born with those questions.

    Even now, today, I want very much to say that I wasn’t. I can hear that frightened part of myself rise up and say, “NO! NO! You are FINE right where you ARE!” But it isn’t true.

    It’s amazing that it’s taken me this long to even start to work towards accepting that.

  30. alisha says:

    wow. deep breath and wow. i so very needed to hear this today. thank you.

  31. Terri says:

    Thank you for this post! I’ve read your blog on and off for a while and decided to check back in today. This is exactly what I’ve been needing to hear lately. Troubles at work, stress, anxiety…all that crap. My main question to myself has been, Why can’t I handle this? Because it’s not where I’m supposed to be, plain and simple. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  32. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful write up.

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