Nobody Special: Finding Relief in an Exhausted World

I just got back to the computer after taking a week off. I didn’t really go anywhere—other than the beach, the coffeeshop, and the far away lands present in the books I read—but I did travel deep within myself and come face-to-face with a fear.

Not just any old fear, but the deep kind Jay Shetty writes about in Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day: the root, not the branch.

There are so many words from various books echoing through my mind as I search for my own thoughts.

This morning, I was checking email and got an email from Barnes & Noble about new books. As I scrolled through the list of the latest and greatest works of non-fiction from the luminaries and celebrities, I felt triggered: Who am I? What do I really have to say, for I am nobody special?

As I typed those words—”nobody special”—into my notes app, I remember where and when I first encountered those beautiful words. In the middle of the night, several weeks ago, in a fit of despair about the meaning of my life, I went into the living room and opened up Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller. The title of the chapter was “Nobody Special.”

As I read and took in his words, I felt the immense glory of being nobody special.

Do I fear that I am average, mediocre, and truly nobody special? Yes, but as Shetty explains, this is a branch fear, one that reveals a deeper fear.

As I explore these fears and feelings, I dig until the words from Father James Martin in Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone allow me to stop searching. My root fear is that I want to be “loved, liked, and approved of.”

Can I still be “loved, liked, and approved of” if I am nobody special?

Perhaps the better question is: “Do I still need to be loved, liked, and approved of because I am nobody special?”

Considering the possible answers to that question helps me to find a sense of relief amid the weariness of the world.