“You’re not that smart, you just work hard.” -Sister Mary Ann to me in the first grade.
On the website, www.simplypsychology.org, Saul McLeod discusses Carl Rogers’ (1959) belief that self concept has three different components: the view you have of yourself (self image), how much value you place on yourself (self esteem or self-worth), [and] what you wish you were really like (ideal self). I could go on for days about all of these theories. But today I’d like to stick to the effects of someone else’s ill-conceived comments on a youth’s self-concept. At the age of six, I was quite impressionable. And as a serious student of an all-girl Catholic school, I took everything I was told as the be-all/end-all answer. Apparently, I was not smart.
As I mentioned in a previous post, therapy has taken situations like this and placed them into context for me. Thankfully, I have carefully thought through this experience many times and instead of believing it, I have turned it into an opportunity to discuss how important it is for us to believe in our own abilities as human beings, and not allow ourselves to be forced into someone else’s schema of how they see and order the world around them, especially in academia.
As I listen to those around me, I am constantly hearing people categorize themselves. “I’m a math person, not an English person.” “I’m a science person, not a language person…” and so on. Just because certain subjects may take us more time to understand than others, does not mean we have to consider ourselves completely incapable of learning them. It happens in personality too. Just because we don’t always enjoy extroversion over introversion, doesn’t mean we can’t adapt in certain situations.
The world is tough enough as it is without us placing all sorts of chains on ourselves. People are forever going to try to fit you into their order of understanding. It is crucial that you don’t let them and allow yourself to flourish into the amazing person you were meant to be. You can be everything, if you only let yourself be.