Learning to See Yourself

When I was a young girl, if someone told me I was beautiful, I did not believe it unless he or she could produce photographic evidence. It was not enough for me to look into a mirror. The mirror only held my skewed perception. I needed to see how other people viewed me. A photograph, a painting, or a sculpture are just some concrete examples of how people are perceived by one another. Just as I could demand a photo of myself from one who claimed I was beautiful, you can learn how to perceive yourself as others do through your academic strengths. The key is inquiry.

Too often we are worried that if we ask the direct question, we might not like the direct answer. If someone says you are a talented writer, ask that person to critique your work, and accept the response as an honest one. Be sure to ask what that person enjoys most about your writing (topic selection, writing style, description, humor, flow, etc.) If someone says you are good at math, but you think otherwise, ask that person to let you help with some applied math project (cooking, money matters, construction projects, etc.) When you have helped, then look into their eyes and see the reflection of your strengths. Do not be afraid to challenge those who praise you to put "their money where their mouths are."

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps you to prioritize your study time for the greatest success. Being able to complete a challenge of proclaimed talents, not only teaches you areas needing improvement, but reinforces your awareness and acceptance of the compliment, and builds your self-esteem. Someone once said, "If you can believe it, you can achieve it." It does not matter how much raw talent you have, if you do not believe you can achieve the potential success others see when they look at you. Take a risk and learn to see yourself as the world sees you. All it takes to fail, is enough doubt to prevent you from trying.


Lori S.

Writer and Artist "Annie the Great"

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