I’ve returned to teaching elementary school this year after a 3 year hiatus of staying at home, and then another 3 year stint at an alternative high school (which is nothing like an elementary school, in case you’re wondering). I am teaching part-time in a rural school district that is home to a total of 50 students, kindergarten through 6th grade. My job is grand. I am the FUN teacher, at least I try to be. I am the PE and Fine Arts teacher. I teach 3 classes a day, 2 PE and one Fine Arts. How much more fun can it get right? We play games, we dance, we create, we paint, we sing, we drama…. um, dramatize……um, are very dramatic, some much more than others. It’s a great gig and I am loving it.
One of these little love cups in my charge happens to be my 6-year-old daughter. I don’t make her call me Mrs. Wheeler either. Am I wrong for that? I watch her expressions a lot during class and I know when she is loving the lessons, games, and activities. I also know when she thinks it is lame, or when I am totally embarrassing her. Which doesn’t make me stop, by the way.
The other evening she and I were in the kitchen and she told me a little story. She said that while in PE, a student asked a question of her and she replied, “I don’t know, go ask my mom.” The other student replied, “That’s your mom?” And when EK told her yes, the little girl turned up her nose, and said “ISH.”
EK looked up at me in the kitchen and said, “But you’re not ish.” However, the way she said it left me questioning if she believed it. She didn’t say it emphatically, like “But you’re NOT ISH!” Rather, it ended in a bit of a question, “But, you’re not ish.” Like she wanted to add, “Are you?” Of course what is she going to say? She’s my daughter and right now she’s at the age where she thinks I hung the moon. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t tell me I’m the best. I know these times won’t last, but I certainly don’t want her opinion of me to change because of some snotty nosed brat in PE. Uh, I mean little love cup. (kidding, I’m kidding).
I didn’t easily dismiss this conversation. I may have thought about it over and over. I’m fun. I’m not ish. I wonder who else thinks I’m ish? In truth, this little story I was told truly got me thinking hard how others opinions of us shape and guide us, even in this seemingly trite example.
We all want to be liked. We all want to be liked all the time. But the cold, hard truth is, we aren’t going to be. We know this. It’s out there. Let’s think about what we’ve been told.
- You can’t please all of the people all of the time.
- Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.
- You may be the juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches.
We can hear these expressions all day long and believe them all day long, but it still stings a little when you get negative feedback. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to be ish, even to a seven-year old, maybe especially to a seven-year old. Children are brutally honest and when it’s coming from them it’s gospel, right?
No matter how badly I don’t want to be ish, others are going to think I am. It’s going to happen and it’s especially going to happen if you are putting yourself out there in any way. When I began my LuLaRoe business, I had to put myself out there. I had to make phone calls, do Facebook Lives, talk to strangers and it wasn’t easy. I have always been a bit of a recluse, so putting myself out there doesn’t come natural for me. Maybe it doesn’t for you either, but what if you have a dream, a big one, that is going to require you to put yourself out there. You’re going to encounter some ish opinions.
Anyone who has their own sense of style, who wants to grow a blog (raises hand), who wants to write a book (raises hand), who wants to start a business, who wants to sing on broadway, who wants a million instagram followers, who wants to change the world, and a million other dreamers are putting themselves out there every single day. Do you think there are those who think they are ish? Of course there are. There are people who think they are worse than ish. In this day of cyber bullying and keyboard warriors, there are some who hide behind the protection of a screen and post ugly comments, bad reviews, and hateful emails. Should these opinions leave us running to our beds, crying, and eating tubs of ice cream? Maybe for a little bit, but not forever.
Here’s what we can do when this happens to us.
**focus on the ones who don’t think you’re ish—There are people who love you. Focus on those. In my classes, I have others who are hugging me daily and telling me they love me. I’m not going to let one little ish ruin it. There are people out there who love your bold sense of style, your writing, your singing, your dancing, your ideas, your everything…..maybe they haven’t found you yet but they are out there. One day they will find you and shower you with how awesome you are. Keep on.
**don’t dwell on it—-As hard as it may be to let it go, it is imperative to let it go. You can’t dwell on it. That will only cause depressing thoughts that will bog you down and possibly change your opinion of yourself. We are our own worst critic to begin with, we certainly don’t need anymore. Should we try to improve? Yes, always. We can take constructive criticism and improve, but don’t dwell on the negative. Think about the positive words and compliments that have been given to you. Keep on.
**don’t let the fear of other’s ishy opinions stop you—-Your dreams are inside of you for a reason. If you want to go big, then go big. Don’t let the fear and worry of other’s opinions keep you from going for it, whatever it is. If you don’t, you will remain where you are. Fearing failure will hold us back. Later sometimes becomes never. Understand that those people with the ish opinions are out there, but don’t let them dictate your path. Take steps forward. Be brave. Keep on.
**to thine own self be true—Didn’t Fancy’s mama give her this same advice in that heart-shaped locket? (please tell me you get this reference). But seriously, be true to your self. I have spent a whole lot of years trying to discover myself while all the time worrying about what other people are thinking of me and following the crowd. We will reach an age when we realize we really don’t care. I want you to find that age sooner than later. Stop comparing yourself to the latest and greatest. Do what makes your heart sing. What makes your soul happy. You will find your tribe. Keep on.
**bullying is not okay—As a disclaimer, I want to say that this post is about people who think you’re ish, not about people who may be harming you or bullying you. That is not okay. Get help and tell someone if something serious and repetitive is happening.
When people say your ish,
You may feel sad and blue
But your crown, straighten and polish,
To thine own self be true.
Inside you is a wish,
A dream that’s big and bold
Only you hold the power,
To turn those ishes into gold.
So focus on your goals,
Don’t listen to that ish,
You may not be a peach,
But you’re a pretty tasty dish!
Y’all go out and turn that ish into something delish.