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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Am ME!

The one thing that I have always struggled with my entire life is worrying about what others think about me.  I am in a constant game of tug-o-war with my need to be liked by others and my want to be at ease with who I am.  Each time I have come close to winning that tug-o-war game something would happen in my life that I would take to heart, and I would be pulled closer to that mud hole in the middle of the rope.  At times I believe I was actually pulled into it, leaving me cold, muddy, and shaking with fear of getting back out and tugging along again.

I don't think that anything in my life has made me extra sensitive but rather it's a personality trait that I was born with, but never wanted to be okay with.  As I have grown older, I have been more accepting of my sensitivity.  I no longer hide my tears when my kids are growing up too fast or pretend that the death of a loved one doesn't hurt.  However, words and actions by others, have still managed to hurt me over the past few years and months.  Through this hurt, I have become more aware that I may be doing to same to others around me...without even realizing it.  I have shed many many tears over upsetting others unintentionally and I have worked hard in the past year on being more sensitive to others' feelings and helping out in any way that I can.

Now it's time for me to help myself.  I can no longer let myself be dragged down by others thoughts or feelings towards me, especially when they haven't taken the time to get to know me.  It is time for me to take charge of these situations and have the confidence in myself to pull on the rope harder and win the tug-o-war challenge. 

In past months I have let words hurt me and bring me down.  Although I try to remember the rhyme, "Sticks and stones (and playgrounds!) may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." it is much easier said than done.  Words hurt.  It is a fact of life.  That is why bullies in our schools and work places have so much power over others.  In the past year, I have let words bring me down so much that I have felt like just dropping that tug-o-war rope and forfeiting the game.  I have held onto things and agonized over them when they should have been forgotten the next day.  Deep in my mind I know that I do NOT have to be liked by everyone.  I do NOT have to prove to others I am worthy.  I do NOT have to answer to others about my actions.  Now it's time to make my heart believe these things also. 

When reflecting on the things in my life that matter most, I have realized that those things are all that should matter.  For example, when my kids cry to give me extra hugs at night before they go to sleep and my daughter pokes her head around the corner just to say, "I really love you a lot mommy" that shows me that I am a great mommy; no matter what others think or say.  Another example is when my students tell me they love coming to my room or get excited about looking at their graphs to see if they went "up", and when they tell me how I make learning fun and that I'm "like the awesomest teacher".  That shows me that I am a good teacher; no matter what others see or think. Yet another example is when my husband comes up behind me and hugs me or when he holds my hand at a show and tells me one last time at night that he loves me.  This shows that I am a loving wife to him; despite of how others portray our relationship.  One last example is when my friends leave me facebook comments, tell me they miss me, or just call because they want to talk or get together.  This shows that I am a friend they want to have; regardless of whether or not others want to be my friend.

THESE are the things that keep me tugging.  THESE are the things that count most in life.  Not the stare downs I may get or the nonchalant comments about the way I do things or the decisions I make.  I am me and the above examples show that I don't need to be anyone else.  From now on, when I feel like throwing in the rope and jumping into the mud hole, I will remember what matters most in my life and continue to pull through with all of my might.  After all, my family, students, friends, and ME deserve me to be happy with who I am!

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