“You cannot conquer what you don’t confront; you cannot confront what you don’t identify.”
This quote infiltrates my thoughts and actions each and every day. For me, it represents a simple, three-part equation that leads to personal growth. To fully explain what it means to me, allow me to break it down into two parts.
“You cannot conquer what you don’t confront.”
I think about this when I find myself constantly complaining about the same issue or when someone vents to me about something that’s been nagging them forever. Talking through it, around it, and about it is like covering a bullet wound with a band-aid. Much like the bullet, the problem won’t vacate the premises until its located and removed with surgical precision. If not, it is guaranteed to do potentially irreparable damage to whatever surrounds it, be it friends, family, jobs or health. Focusing on the first half of the quote drives home the importance of nipping a problem in the bud before it snowballs out of control. I’ve been duking it out with some pretty durable self-doubt lately and simply writing about this quote is shedding a little light on how I’ve been breathing life into my ongoing dilemma.
“You cannot confront what you don’t identify.”
How can you resolve an issue if you don’t know what it is? Oftentimes, I annoy myself to no end with over-analyzing, but in the case of identifying the source of an issue, this trait serves me well. It encourages me to dig beneath the surface for more clues. Sometimes this comes in the form of writing down my problem then reading back what I wrote. And as weird as this may sound, lately I’ve begun keeping video diaries. They’re definitely for my eyes only and the probability of them winding up as a YouTube soliloquy is absolutely zero. So while I may cringe at how the camera magnifies that huge zit or how badly my hair needs a trim, watching these videos of myself also increases my self-awareness and sometimes what I thought was a monumental, irreversible issue really isn’t.
I made a point of posting this quote on my vision board due to the benefits it yielded when I had it taped to my old work desk right next to my keyboard. Seeing it helps me face tasks I’ve been avoiding and helps me recall past successes and how much better I felt once I conquered whatever was holding me down.
Coincidentally, I discovered that it is somewhat related to my tagline (which is a work in progress) because in order to “Learn, laugh, relate and edit your life accordingly,” you have to identify what needs editing and then figure out how to incorporate those changes.
Although I do take this quote seriously, I’m not quite sure if it’s necessary to tattoo it on me. In some ways, it already is. I’ve allowed it to imprint my mind, by using it to reassure myself that I do indeed possess the mental strength to endure whatever temporary discomfort comes along with confronting issues. For a long time, I had nightmares where creatures of all kinds chose me as their prey. And like a scared animal in the wild, I ran. From lions, to tigers and angry, rabid dogs, I’ve been chased by just about every wild thing on four legs. After some time, those creatures transformed into beings not found in your local zoo nor on a random National Geographic special. They were faceless and lacked any discernible form, but they had one thing in common with my previous pursuers– they scared me unlike anything else in life. Confronting them was my own personal version of a “Mission Impossible.”
But it turns out that keeping my favorite quote in mind took on the role of secret weapon. After slaying a few personal dragons (conscious and subconscious), I know I can face that monster in the shadows (even if I’m shaking in the process). It may be terrifying and breathing down my neck with foul intentions and threats of destruction, but focusing on the words identify and confront show me that what I’m facing isn’t insurmountable like my insecurities would have me believe.
I bear the significance of this quote in my heart because that is where I know I want to continue with growth and triumphing over obstacles, no matter how big or intimidating they seem.
And finally, the mark of this quote on my soul lingers throughout the day, checking in from time to time to softly encourage me to become better and to constantly utilize progress to defy all the obstacles that stand in my way.