I love reading stories of resilience. Stories where people were told they would never be who they wanted to be or do what they wanted to do, and did it anyway. I love those stories because others don’t get to define or decide who you are.
In my opinion our society gives so-called “experts” way too much power. We allow grades to determine our worth. We allow opinions/criticisms (often without being requested) to deflate us. In return, we start comparing ourselves to others, moving away from our unique creativity to follow the norm, and if they really get to us, we stop creating all together. How heartbreaking is that? When this happens to us as kids, we don’t yet have the foresight to look at opinions as merely that, OPINIONS. Instead we are convinced they are fact. We must not be good enough. And often those little quirky aspects of ourselves get drowned by “well-meaning” adults.
But this doesn’t just happen in childhood. When I was in nursing school, there were a large number of students who were natural caregivers. Their bedside manner was awe-inspiring. Meanwhile I felt like a phony who had to pretend I was in Grey’s Anatomy in order to walk into an patient’s room. However, I tested better than some of them. I was by no means a better nurse, but I tested better. And so I continued on and got my license and some of them did not. This was heart-wrenching because it was clear to me, they were MADE for this profession. I can only hope that those folks never doubted their abilities as caregivers, because what the test results did NOT determine and should NEVER determine was their value.
“There will always be someone who can’t see your worth. Don’t let it be you.”
If you were told at a young age that there’s no point in drawing because you won’t make any money doing it, get back to it! Not everything will make you money, and why should that determine its merit in your life? If you were told your poems were lame, get back to it! The poems don’t have to speak to everyone, just you! If you don’t test well, don’t let that defeat you! You can still use your gifts in other ways.
And lastly, comparison will not help you. In the words of good ole Teddy Roosevelt:
“Comparison is the thief of JOY.”
Be your unique self.
Take care of YOU.