Monday, January 18, 2016

10 life lessons for my graduating seniors

1.       Change is the only thing constant
2.       You don’t know what that person has been through. Be nice to everybody
3.       It is OK to be uncomfortable. It means you are trying something new
4.       New experiences may be good or bad. And that’s ok as long as you grow from it
5.       If something you have tried a couple of times in the past didn’t work, it won’t work in the future
6.       Success is a demonstration of what you already know. Failure informs you on what you need to know
7.       Communicate as though you are explaining it to a lay person. Communication is difficult but worthwhile
8.       Good habits come from practice. Practice makes perfect
9.       Better to fail than cheat. Failing is a flaw in your knowledge. Cheating is a flaw in your character

10.   You can only count on yourself 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Be nice to yourself and be the best person you can be. You deserve to have only the best to count on

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Art of Confidence

I was incredibly baffled when I was in college at the behavior of my best friend whenever life threw a curve ball at her. She would retreat to her dorm room and would need some space and some time to get over it and then move on with life, almost like nothing had happened. Me, on the other hand, anytime something went wrong, I needed to cling on to her or somebody at the least. I have always needed to talk things out. I could never understand her technique or how that worked.

Until now.... I think....

Today I was in a situation where my emotions were thrown for a loop and I had no idea how to handle them. I desperately needed to talk to somebody and I couldn't get myself to calm down. I was sad, I was crying, I was feeling miserable. So I call my friend who is in a completely different time zone on the opposite part of the planet (I am being literal here) just to talk. I needed her to tell me things that I already knew. I needed to hear it all from her. For example, a root cause of me feeling terrible was that I was worried about how some people in the world, who don't really matter to me in any manner in my life, would perceive me as a human being. My name was being slandered and I was worried that people would think I am a bad person. I innately know that what other people think of me does not matter, its how I feel about myself that is more important. And I tried to tell myself that. But it did  not make me feel any better. I needed to hear my friend say it to me in order for it to make sense and for me to find a sense of calm.

Then it occurred to me, after hanging up the phone with my friend. I need to talk to somebody to get assurance from them and she doesn't, because I am just not comfortable in my own skin. I don't trust my own judgement, I am not happy with the person I am or the place in life that I am in. So I can't find comfort in myself. There is no inner peace when all I can think of is the conflict between who I want to be and who I really am.

The weirdest part is, as a high school teacher, I preach this to my kids all the time. I teach teenagers. Teenagers are notorious for living with all kinds of insecurities. I try to teach them to be more confident in themselves and to believe in themselves. I try to tell them that they are awesome and they will continue to become better as long as they allow themselves to open their minds and grow. The students that listen to me, blossom into such amazing high school graduates; I always tear up at their graduation ceremony. I feel like this is an important life lesson that I must impart to my kids. Whether or not you learn chemistry from me, I want you to walk out of my class as a better and more confident human being. I want to teach you confidence and I want to teach you how to be comfortable in your own skin.

It is weird that I can't seem to follow my own message to my kids. My defense to that - if you can't admit there is a problem, then you probably won't know to fix it. Today I admit, I am not confident in my abilities and not comfortable with the person I am. At least not entirely. And until I figure out how to be confident and comfortable just being me, I am probably going to always try to run to somebody who will reassure me. The challenge now is.... can I fix this situation? Or will I run from it, as I have done many times in the past?

I am really hoping I can fix this situation. Who knows, I might find wisdom on the other side of fear.