I was recently speaking at a high school. The topic was Drops of Awesome and my mission was to convince the students of two things.
- You are so much better than you give yourself credit for.
- You can improve who you are and become who you want to be almost instantly, depending on the next tiny choice you make.
The kids were amazing and receptive and the energy was fabulous on a level I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I hope they were as affected as I was.
I started our hour together by telling them about my high school friend who used put-downs as a fun and hilarious relationship building tool, ala – “You’re such a dork! Let’s go get lunch,” or, “Okay Loser, what are we gonna do after school?”
This wore on me and eventually we stopped hanging out. But then I told the girls about a much more destructive friend I made in my young adult years.
She constantly put me down, told me I wasn’t good enough, that my efforts always fell short. When I succeeded she told me it was luck and when I failed, she said I deserved it and she’d always known I was incapable of doing anything well.
As I described this friend to the kids in this high school class, there were several audible gasps.
“That is so mean!” one girl exclaimed.
These teenagers were more than a little horrified that I’d let someone talk to me like that, which is good, because those kind of put-downs are horrible. I should never have let anyone talk to me that way. In fact, I should try to stand up against that kind of negativity whenever I hear it, regardless of who it’s directed at.
What made getting rid of this nasty friend so tricky was that she wasn’t some outside person. It was my own inner voice, holding me back from success, setting me up to fail, kicking me when I was down.
I would say terrible things to myself that I’d never say to a friend or even an enemy. Do any of these sound familiar?
-Of course you’re late. You’re always late.
-No surprise. You made a crappy dinner again.
-I swear you’re the only parent incapable of remembering to turn in a field trip form on time.
-You look so fat today.
Would you ever say things like this to another person?! Would you ever stand back and watch someone say things like this to one of your friends?!
I’d like to think that most everyone would stand up for a friend they saw being treated so poorly. So it’s time to act like your own best friend and stand up when you hear your inner voice spewing garbage like that. (I know we’re getting all kinds of split-personality-ish here but that’s okay. Is it? Yeah, I think so. Okay, I agree.)
So, you toss a box of cereal on the table when you get home from work and tell the kids to eat quickly because you’re already late for baseball.
In your mind you hear, “No surprise. You made crappy dinner again.”
You answer back, “You know what? I made dinner again. I’m feeding the heck out of these kids.”
“But this isn’t healthy. You’re probably the only mom who does this.”
“I’m positive I’m not the only mom who does this and that doesn’t really matter anyway. This isn’t how we ALWAYS eat. This is called baseball season. While I’m on the bleachers, I’m going to make a list of all the awesome meals I have made in the past and that I plan to make again when life gets back to normal. And for now, I’m going to feel good that I remembered to buy cereal. Also, I’m about to be sitting on the bleachers again for three hours. D to the ANG! I’m the nicest mom ever.”
Do a few things for me this week, precious please.
- Notice when you’re being a jerk to yourself.
- Fight back.
- Don’t let anyone talk to your friend like that.
- Eat some cereal for dinner so I can feel better about myself.