Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

What criticism kicked your self-esteem to the curb? What memories from childhood or relationships or jobs that didn’t work out or mistakes that embarrassed you do you still hold onto. I’ve said before that the past holds us back. Old memories can keep you from doing or trying what you’d like to do because something happened long ago that has stuck with you and makes you believe you can’t. People have told me they couldn’t do math because they’d flunked calculus, which is so not what’s needed in the real world, but they won’t try now.

A past failure can make you believe you’ll always fail at the same endeavor. This is SOOOO NOT TRUE!!!

Just because you couldn’t do something once doesn’t mean you can’t ever do it! You can learn skills and improve your abilities. Sometimes the first teacher isn’t good, or you’re not ready. Letting old mistakes or things you couldn’t creep into your present holds you way back and is so unfair to you! It also is a big confident buster. I’ll tell you a secret. In high school, one of my English teachers told me my writing was sloppy. In college, a professor also put down my ability to write. So I didn’t write for years. I took a writing class learned writing skills, and here I am, a writer by profession.

Sometimes stuff from very young childhood holds us back.

In kindergarten, my teacher made loud fun of my paintings, saying I had no talent. How can a teacher put a five-year-old down like that? Adults can be stupid. I remember how I ran home from school crying and told my mom how Miss A. made fun of my painting. Bless her heart, she was a traditional person and felt if the teacher said it, maybe I should stay away from art. I was five!!!

I LOVED art but was terrified to pursue it openly and became a closet artist, hiding my work to avoid ridicule. At twenty-five, I “bravely” took a creative handicrafts class and did well. The instructor actually asked me to teach the class when she left. I protested, explaining my teacher’s words. She said I was probably too creative for to understand my talent. After teaching classes and exhibiting at craft shows, I finally painted again. Now I love doing watercolors.

If Miss A., who I thought was like God, was wrong, others can be too!
   
Empower yourself by rewriting rules. Think about what interests you that you were stopped from pursuing. Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen if you give it a shot. Even if you goof, trying is fun. My first watercolors weren’t great. But with practice I’m better and several friends have one in their homes. Don’t let others stop you from enjoying your interests. Leave the past where it belong–in history!

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