2 anecdotes that will change your life*

standard January 30, 2014 6 responses

The other day, as I was bouncing around Facebook, procrastinating on the mound of work I really needed to do, I came across a fun video clip of Mandy Patinkin riding in the back of a cab, reciting his infamous “My name is…” lines with the cab driver.


The magic that is the Facebook algorithm then led me to a NY Times article about Mandy titled “I behaved abominably.” Who wouldn’t click on that? Come on. The extended procrastination was totally justified.

I had to know what this man I have adored for countless years could possibly have done that he qualified as “abominable.” Turns out I’ve been rather busy and preoccupied these last… oh… 8 years and I missed all the drama about him walking off the set of Criminal Minds. Whoops.

In any case, that’s not my point here.

My point is this. At one moment in the NYT article, Mandy says

“I didn’t listen to myself,” Patinkin said. “I listened to all the relatives who said: ‘Yes, you win Tony awards, but how’s the movie career going? Are you a big movie star yet?’ I was in ‘Sunday in the Park,’ I was having this extraordinary life with Joe Papp in the Public Theater, but nothing was O.K., because I wasn’t a big movie star yet.”

This was after doing Princess Bride, after Chicago Hope, after he’d already won the hearts of billions of fans.

And all he heard were the voices in his head that said he wasn’t good enough.

Let that thought settle in your head for a minute. Mandy Patinkin, TV superstar, probably one of the most iconic movie actors of my life, renowned singer, larger than life, so well known that in Hollywood he’s known as “just” Mandy, worries that his career isn’t good enough because he’s not a big movie star.

While you’re mulling that over, let me share another tidbit that occurred this week.

While I was out for drinks with two friends (yes, sheesh girls, get over, it, you say something around me, it might well show up here. I’d apologize, but I’m just not all that sorry. Lay down with dogs, get up with fleas. Hang out with a writer… uh… be written about. Next round is on me.) and one of them mentioned that people often confuse her with another person she used to work with, because they both have dark curly hair.

Different heights. Radically different skin tones. Totally different body types. But hey, curly hair! Not even the same kinds of curls, but dark curly hair. Mind. Blown.

So here’s the moral of my two stories. 

1) It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve accomplished, how great you are, there are still going to be people in your life who make you feel like you’re just not good enough.
No one is ever going to believe in you the way you need to believe in yourself. Stop looking outward to see if you’re on the right track and start looking inward instead. If you’re proud of where you’re going and what you’re doing let that fuel your self-worth.

2) We can spend hours futzing with our clothes, our shoes, our hair, and our make-up and unless we’re doing it because it makes us feel good, it’s all for nothing.
People see you through the lens of their own self-absorption. You might be thinking “Isn’t this a cute skirt? I love how these boots make me taller! I really wish I didn’t have that monster zit growing on my chin, but hey, cute eye shadow today!” and they’ll be thinking “Oh yay! Curls is here.” In short, stop worrying so much, you’re the only one who sees the imperfections.

So there you have it. Deep thoughts for the day. Seriously hoping my next post will not have to be titled “I don’t understand why none of my friends want to hang out with me any more.”

*What, too Buzzfeedy of a title?

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6 responses

  • Amanda Cowan

    I was thinking about this recently. I’m visiting family next week and seeing a friend while I’m there. I’ve been busting my ass to get rid of the 4lbs (gasp!) that I gained over the holidays because she’s totally the type of person who will notice they’re there and say something. I know deep down that her comments have more to do with her feelings about herself than her feelings about me, but still.

  • This was good to read.. not just because it was fun and also insightful about mandy patinkin, but also because it shows the universality of not feeling good enough. Thanks for sharing!

  • I had an uncle for whom no accomplishment of mine was ever enough. I used to dread his visits.

    On the lighter side, I’m going to have to come back when my speakers are working. I LOVE the “Inigo Montoya” lines!

  • Great insightful post. The act of always beating ourself up is a sickness that is slowly destroying our souls. Helpful reminder to see that those whom we deem successful suffer from this too. Need to constantly remind myself of all that I am, not what I haven’t done yet!

    Yours, Heidi
    http://www.themagicofmothering.com

  • I was just telling my 9 year old the other day that she was worrying about something no one else would notice. That if it bothered HER–fine, but don’t worry that other people will notice.

    The apple, man. It doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  • Great insights you’ve got on those anecdotes that will change your life. There will always be those who’d think you haven’t done much.. but nobody but nobody but you will have to take stock of your worth and know in your heart of hearts what you’ve, in reality become. That’s what counts!

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