To cut ourselves short means to settle for something less. Essentially it states that we should always strive for the best. While this can have a good meaning to it, it can also keep us striving for things outside of ourselves in an attempt to find joy and peace. I don’t intend to over complicate a simple concept, but instead would like to explore how this concept can create a lot of suffering. I think we have all seen this happen or felt it ourselves many times. In the end the intention is that this might help you find more peace in your life.
If we think about the concept deeply for a moment, is it really possible to cut ourselves short? In order to believe the idea that we can, we must also believe that we and various experiences have value. I’m not saying we don’t have value, but rather how could you define ones value? Do certain people have more value? Do certain experiences have more value? If so how do we define that? What is the best? As we are quickly noticing, there is a lot of mind work going on here. Definitions, value systems, ideals, collective beliefs etc. This is a clear sign that we are playing with a mind made concept. In fact, we could never truly ‘cut ourselves short’ because our value is all equal, making the value scales and the need to strive for our best unnecessary.
In theory some of what this saying represents could be quite empowering, but how often is this saying truly used correctly without any mind stories and beliefs getting involved to taint it? Can you say you have not learned what the best is from someone else or something else in the world? Maybe what society deems is the best or most valuable? SO often our dreams are defined by external sources and we make them our own because of what they represent on the outside.
Let me use an example to explain what I mean.
Growing up I loved baseball, it was by far the best thing I could ever do and I felt more alive doing it than when doing anything else. As I got older I saw the potential of where baseball could take me, and I of course had the same dreams many kids did; to play in the MLB one day. But one day it all changed. I quit baseball and didn’t even really know why. It just was time to move on I guess. For the first year I didn’t even feel the difference, but as time went on I felt more and more regret filled as I believed I had thrown something away. The more I pondered my choices and rattled myself about how my current life was nothing in comparison to what it could have been, I started to get lost in the idea of ‘cutting myself short.’ Intermittently throughout the last few years I felt as though I had achieved nothing in life because I didn’t pursue my dreams to play in the MLB. What I noticed however, was that most of the times I felt regret and the idea of ‘cutting myself short’, I was not feeling so good about myself and my life for whatever reason. When I didn’t have peace in my life, when I wasn’t in my joy, my mind created stories of how I wasn’t of value and that I hadn’t achieved anything because I did not pursue baseball. Of course we can all realize by this point that all of my feelings about my life and choices are noting more than my mind judging what paths I chose. There is no real truth to it.
What do I know now? I love baseball and it shouldn’t matter where I play or what I do so long as I am engaging in whatever amount of it I feel is good for me. I’m no better or worse for my decisions either.
The ties between my experience and the saying ‘don’t cut yourself short’ should be clear, especially if you can relate with an experience of your own. The truth is we often define ourselves by what we do. We give ourselves value and feel we are better for having done something in particular ,when the truth is we are already as valuable as can be. Nothing we do will ever make us more valuable or better than anyone else. I’m not telling you to set your dreams aside, I’m simply saying don’t let them define you and don’t make the end result so important. The journey of it all is what we are here for, enjoy that and let the end results be what they are. Funny thing is, the more you detach from the need to accomplish something to give you value, the more you realize what your true dreams are.
- Allow your dreams to be pure.
- Remember that what you are doing in life now is a unique experience on its own and you are having it because you have something to learn from it.
- Keep the mind and all of it’s ideas of value and cutting yourself short aside. This will save you a lot of unnecessary suffering.
- Be you.
- You are already amazing.