For a good part of my life, I always felt that I wasn’t as smart as other people. In school I would cower when teachers would ask a question or ask someone to summarize something.
I wasn’t good at it and being put on the spot in front of my peers was even more nerve wracking. Sometimes I would have the answer and I would look around afterward to see the looks and expressions on my classmate's faces.
Were they judging me? Were they wondering why I didn’t know the simple answer? Did they think I was stupid or sounded stupid?
Other times I would just draw a huge blank and not know what to say so I would embarrassingly say I didn’t know, even when the teacher tried to provoke an answer.
I didn’t feel smart.
I was jealous of the other kids who understood what we were learning and got it easily.
The belief that I wasn’t intelligent and I was stupid carried through most of my life.
In high school, I worked as a cashier in a drug store. I was always nervous giving people change in case I miscounted, I was severely insecure and it came out as bitchy and moody. So, sometimes I didn’t come off as the nicest person because of it.
One day a man came to the counter and paid for his items. He handed me his money and I gave him change. Apparently, I had miscounted and gave him the wrong change back.
He, in a way, talked down to me and said: “No, that’s not right, try again.” I got flustered because there were other people in line and couldn’t think straight.
Finally, he got his correct change and when he was leaving made it a point to tell me “How stupid I was.”
In my mind this just confirmed what I already thought about myself.
I WAS stupid.
I didn't understand a lot of things "normal" people did (my perception). I didn't retain a lot of information well.
I was really hard on myself and took things about my intelligence and level of competency to heart.
So, how did it change?
I made a choice to love myself and accept myself, despite my imperfections. Did I “get” things as well as other people… no. But, it was still OK. I wasn’t stupid because of it. It just takes me a little longer to grasp certain things than other people–and that’s just how it is.
Does it change anything about the person I am? Nope. Does is change the fact that I’m a really good and loving daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend, or coach? No way. Does is change that I’m a great listener and genuinely love boosting people’s confidence and motivating them to take steps towards exactly what they want… still a big fat no!
I decided to be easier on myself.
Today, I’m more open about expressing my feelings, who I really am, and the things I’m good at and not so good at. I own them and don’t let others opinions affect how I feel about myself or how I live my life–because at the end of the day, only God can judge me and I know He loves me and created me just the way He wanted to.
I'm proud of the person I was, the person I am and the person I'm transforming into.
Have you ever let other people’s opinions stop you from doing something you wanted to do or shrink down from being who you truly are?