Each year I write a New Year’s post. I have written about everything from discretionary time to broken eggs. Clearly, this year I am a little delayed.
I am actually delayed on EVERYTHING; the redesign of my website, marketing for my new book, debuting my lifestyle blog, launching an Instagram page (there’s no excuse for this one).
Yesterday, I fractured my toe and can’t put any weight on it. So, I’ve been forced to be still. Hence, me actually writing this post …
In a few days, I will enter a classroom full of freshman. Some will be away from home for the first time. There will be student athletes accountable for a rigorous practice schedule. Others will be trying to balance work and classes to pay their tuition. Most all will be looking for affirmation that they can achieve this monumental goal, earning their degree.
I know how important that can be!
Studies show that the engagement of even one supportive adult, can positively influence a young person’s perception of themselves and their ability.
I remember entering my classroom, making a hard left and heading straight to the back of the class, to my desk in the corner. With my chin in hand, I watched the hand on the clock click – click until 10:30 AM. At which time, I went to the “special room” with 4 other students. We read to each other for an hour. After lunch, this process repeated itself, but for math.
It was easier to endure the ridicule of the “special room” than sitting in my corner seat in the back of my classroom. It only took a few weeks before I stopped raising my hand and started watching the clock. Ms. Shaff never called on me. Why did she hate me?
Fortunate for me, I had Mr. Averyheart the following year. He specifically requested I be in his 4th grade class. He told me, “You no longer need to go to the “special room”. In fact, you are the smartest girl in my classroom.”
Something peculiar happened … I suddenly was. I worked hard to prove he was right.
Thank God for 4th grade! But you know what, thank God for 3rd grade as well.
I learned an important lesson. It really didn’t matter what either of them thought, what mattered was that I began to believe in myself.
To be clear, I’m grateful for Mr. Averyheart. I have learned however, I won’t always have a Mr. Averyheart.
Every morning I wake up, I have an opportunity to decide: how I will spend my time, what will get my focus & attention, who I will share my experiences with … I decide who I am and what I can be. My decision does not require a cosigner.
Instead of looking in the mirror, too often we look to public opinion. Ever decision requires a poll of our peers, “Well, what do you think?”
It is ok if public affirmation makes us feel good. It becomes problematic when negative perceptions make us feel bad.
This type of social co-dependence can be dangerous. Instead of taking the temperature in the room, we need to know how to self-regulate.
It is ok if you think I am great. But it is also ok if you do not.
Your perception of yourself cannot be a pendulant that tips based on the opinions in the room.
Just because someone cannot see your shine, it does not mean it doesn’t exist. Do not engage your haters, let your life speak for itself.
You are beautifully and wonderfully made. Everything you have survived is evidence of your resilience. The only person who can make you abandon your dream is you. You are the decider.
In the scheme of life, you may encounter several Ms. Shaffs and perhaps not enough Mr. Averyhearts. If this occurs … AFFIRM YOURSELF!!!
Ms. Shaff and Mr. Averyheart taught me that.
Gia Suggs, MPA, MA, EdD is an Organization Development Consultant. She manages a private practice and is a Distinguished Adjunct Professor at Olivet Nazarene University located in Bourbonnais, Illinois.
Dr. Gia is also the author of Onboarding; Maximizing the Success of New Employees & Shattering the Glass Ceiling; How to Break Through Without Breaking Down (both available on Amazon.com).
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