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Honestly, it’s hard staying positive. With twitter trolls and FB stalkers whose sole purpose in life is to critique every single post, word, meme; positivity seems far and few between. And it’s even worse for the younger generation who probably spend most of their days on social media. Last week I had a candid conversation with one of my students. She and I are a part of the poetry club at the high school where I work, and she was telling me about a performance she had the night before. This particular student is like me in many ways – spirit and speech. She’s carefree, loves hard, naïve and optimism overtakes her often.
As she explained to me her performance, the audience’s response, and the poem itself; I felt her heart. A girl, who disliked her for reasons any girl of adolescence would understand, mocked her performance and her piece. This student is more afraid than most when speaking in front of people, no matter how small the crowd. The proclivities of speech stammering and nervous laughter plague her. All of which manifested during her performance and her taunter brought up before and after the performance by stating, “I told you so.” The young lady who confided in me is extremely nice so, naturally, she never spoke ill of her bullier, however, this simple fact caused her peers to mistake her as weak. And being that I suffered the same fate in high school, I felt her pain more than anything else. And I knew for sure, our paths crossed for great reason.
I told my student that she will begin to find that girls will dislike her for no reason other than because she’s pretty. In my opinion, neither of the girls in this situation are ugly, however, how they view themselves and how they actually are two separate things. The “accuser” in this is a young lady who’s more outspoken and has many friends in her corner. And many mistake this as confidence. Being that there was no real reason the girl would bully her, I concluded that she needed to tear down someone else to build herself up, and my student was the perfect victim. In reality, that is false confidence; a makeshift house of straw and sticks never meant to withstand a storm.
While sitting in a wooden desk with a paper filled with letters and numbers sprawled across her notebook, she emptied her heart out to me and I, in turn, filled hers. And after, because the look in her eyes was amazed – shocked like a child looks at her parents after discovering the warmth of the sun for the first time. I insisted that she stay positive by way of affirmations.
There was a season in my life where I had to recite a self-mantra DAILY and CONSISTENTLY. I hung to those affirmations until I believed them deep down. It was a hard time in my life that required me to do something different. My character and self-worth were being challenged every day so I had to declare over myself the statements I knew were true. That looked like: I am beautiful. I am confident. I am special. I am wanted. I am loved. Over and over and over, until it became my truth. Again. So, I told my sweet student to do the same. Eventually, I put the self mantra into a jar written on various colors of sticky notes gel pen. I am a visual person so seeing who I was worked better than just me saying it. I pulled out those mantras whenever I felt those negative thoughts come. Now, that jar is filled with scriptures to keep me going on those hard days, reminders of who I am when I don’t believe it, and statements affirming my character whenever it’s challenged.
Friend, you don’t have to believe what people tell you, especially if it isn’t true. I am not telling you to believe a false reality of yourself but I am talking about the negative, unwarranted and unsupportive critiques of your character that come from a place of hurt and negativity. And these critiques can come from others as well as self. And that kind of self auditing can be both healthy and damaging.
In other cases, our circumstances can rob us of our positivity and suck the joy from us. And the hardest part is choosing to stay positive in those moments where life is out of control and out of our control. But in those moments it is crucial that we choose to stay positive; not holding on to a false hope but seeing and believing the best of people, circumstances, and the future. And that requires a belief in something beyond self, beyond what we can grasp on our own; a belief in the one who holds the world in His hands.
And after our conversation, my student told me I should be a counselor because I helped her so much! (LOVES)
Ladies, how do you stay positive when life isn’t? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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