Do you ever find yourself apologising for being you?
I was working with a 15 year old girl this morning and we were talking about school and other things that are important to 15 year olds and the conversation turned to the inevitable chat on smart ar$ed comments being made towards her in school and how she dealt with them.
Interestingly, her response was very similar to the ninja style flips I talk about in this week’s podcast although in her world she was running the conversation over and over in her head looking for a smart comeback that would cut the person in 2 with razor sharp wit and startling levels of sarcasm.
And that’s what many of us do isn’t it.
Sometimes, when we’re made to feel small, our response is to try and make the other person smaller. It’s classic revenge wrapped up in a fancy bow. If we can do that then, relatively speaking, we’re bigger than them, right. Right?
You see that strategy, although fun when it works, is short term. In my opinion, it actually perpetuates the problem rather than solving it because it starts a ‘who can make the other person smaller’ battle. Essentially, if you do something to make someone feel small so you can feel bigger than them, you know what? You’re still small. You’ve not built yourself up by bringing them down.
So, if you’ll allow me, let me propose a different solution, the same one I gave to this girl this morning.
Never apologise for being you. The only reason anyone can make you feel small is if you choose to value their opinion of you over your own opinion of you. Stay tall, stay proud, stay big and don’t let yourself be shrunk by catty comments or nasty pointy word-sticks (I don’t know what a word-stick looks like but you can imagine it’s pretty pointy).
I spent my teenage years apologising for who I was. Feeling I should be someone else or fit a mould that wasn’t my mould. Thinking I was ‘less’ because I couldn’t be everything that I thought everyone else wanted me to be.
My message now, to teenagers, adults and anyone else that will listen, is never to apologise for being who you are. This may not be who you are forever and, especially if you are 15, there is a high chance that this is just a version of yourself that you are trying on just now to see if it ‘fits’ and you are entitled to do that.
Be proud of who you are and what you have. If you want to play computer games then do it with pride, if you want to read books then do it with pride, if you are good at maths then be good with pride, if you want to dye your hair blue and listen to bizarre metal then do it with pride.
(I’ve just noticed this post is turning a little bit schmaltzy but stick with me, I’m nearly done!)
My parting message to this girl this morning was simple; you’re a special person to so many people and its the opinions of the people who know your special you should listen to.
And everyone who doesn’t agree just smells of poo… 😉
Go be proud of who you are.