I spent the morning teaching facts about Byzantine Emperor Justinian, Confucius, and Eastern Asia to a classroom of wiggly preschoolers.
We set our facts to music and sang our hearts out. Right about the time I committed to some, “ooo, ooo, ooo’s,” waving my arms in the air, I caught sight of one of the parents giving me the look.
That parent wasn’t trying to embarrass me or derail me in any way. It was just a look they had that said, “I’m so glad that’s her, not me!”
My commitment and courage wilted. My internalized criticism took flight! I felt dumb. I wanted to stop the class right then and there.
I needed to get over it.
It’s easy to feel foolish and stop moving toward your calling because peers think you’re strange.
Even middle-aged parents succumb to peer pressure! Yet even more powerful than peer pressure is the dialogue in our heads
Consider Henri Nouwen’s words:
“I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection… When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.”… Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”
We all know the mantra about “being yourself.” Today I’m asking you to embrace that idea and courageously stand up as a leader. I bet you’re pluckier than you think!
Question: Are you courageous? Are you willing to face the obstacles and move forward in spite of the fear that may try to well up within you? Be courageous and you will succeed!
This post was originally published October 26, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!