Saturday, 2 July 2016

"It's Not Fair!" - the path to self-sabotage is paved with good intentions

A little share for today...

When I was 7 years old, I was sitting at a table in my classroom, doing some handwriting practice along with several other children. I remember that I was holding a well-chewed, thick red pencil. My teacher came to our table and looked at everyone's work. He looked at each piece of paper, and praised each child in turn. When he got to me, he told me I needed to improve my writing as it was not "good enough". My embarrassment turned to shame and then to anger, as he rewarded every other child at my table a lovely blue Berol handwriting pen for their superb efforts. He then told me that I couldn't have a pen yet as my writing was too scruffy. Within me I could feel the injustice, as I looked at my own page, blinking back the tears, my voice of indignation screaming in my head, "But that's not fair!". I was doing what I believed was my best efforts, at the time.
I have carried this experience throughout my life in one form or another, telling myself I must try harder, I must do my best; for each knock-back or rejection I have had my young voice shouting "It's not fair!" within me.
When I look back at the handwriting experience, I see two things.
Firstly, how that teacher's remarks and actions shaped how I have been perceiving my life ever since - that I have to somehow prove to myself and/or others that I am perfectly capable - even very good - at some things. But apart from the self-imposed sabotage of my efforts in life, others who are the "source" of the rejection or criticism are just feeding off my own sub-conscious fears, because they are picking up on them.
Secondly - and this is what makes me chuckle - is that because I am stubborn and determined not to prove anyone else but myself that something is "wrong", I end up succeeding, anyway! I am the one who has been creating my own obstacles to success because of what I believe to be true about myself. It is that little girl within me who is protesting "But it's not fair!" who is my motivator to make something exactly as I want it to be. To make things "right".
So, with regards to the handwriting practice - guess what my 7-year-old self did? She went away and practised her writing for years. We never seemed to have enough paper at home to write on, so many of my children's story books are filled with graffiti'd handwriting, ranging from the names of all the children in my class, to horrible remarks about my little brother, bossy comments about the book itself, etc...all to practice getting my handwriting as I wanted it to look. In my teens I enjoyed calligraphy as a hobby, which inevitably got my handwriting better as time went on.
I am happy with my handwriting, nowadays. I relish writing upon a fresh, crisp, clear piece of paper and I still use the beautiful fountain pen my lovely friend gave me for my 21st birthday.

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