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A word about shaming ourselves…

September 3, 2018

There’s a good chance that by now any High school graduate / college aged woman (or man for that matter) has encountered quite a few messages about their body. These messages come from many sources: family, friends/ acquaintances, advertisements and other media. Some messages will be positive: “You look healthy”, “I love your smile”, “These clothes will look great on you,” etc. Some will not be positive: “You could lose a little weight”, “You’re scrawny”, “You have no style” or “You’re ugly”. Unfortunately, the negative thoughts seem to be the loudest in our heads. They scream loudly and drown out any thoughts of faith in ourselves.

Whether we realize it or not, these messages bake into our thoughts, forming a cohesive internal image of ourselves. It pre-programs our beliefs about ourselves and in such a subtle way that we don’t even fully realize it, at times. We look at a certain dress and think to ourselves “I’m a bigger woman, I can’t wear that.” We look at our own works of literature or artwork and think to ourselves, “It’s not good enough to sell. Who would want this?!” We get a high “B” on the most difficult test and our first thought is, “Dang! I wanted the ‘A’”. These thoughts are so frequent that they probably number in the thousands throughout a typical day.

I have heard these thoughts called “mind viruses”. Nothing could be truer. You cannot think these kind of thoughts and hope to have a positive life. You cannot limit yourself by your own thoughts and expect to live a life free of limitation. Now, there are certain things we’re going to have to accept about ourselves.

I am not six feet tall and therefore a journey to WNBA is not likely in the cards for me. But by the same token, however difficult it might be, if were willing to pay the price in time, practice, and dedication, despite my 5’2 height, I could make myself into a great basketball player. If it is my passion and my enjoyment, there’s no reason in the world why I shouldn’t or couldn’t pursue it either.

I would say to any student who is frustrated by people telling them that they can’t, shouldn’t or won’t do those things they want to do the most, “Show them different!” Wear the clothes that people don’t think look good on you, if you like them. Pick up a guitar if it is your passion to play it. Start your own 501c3 to give to those who you’d like to support. Start your own business to support yourself. Apply to medical school, even if you don’t have a 4.0 GPA.

Don’t allow the limited imaginations of those around you to cause you to place limits on your own imagination. Do not let those who have thrown away their dreams, force you to place your dreams in the wastebasket. You can do it. Your wildest daydreams can come to pass when you put your effort into to making them real and push aside the negative and believe in yourself.