Thursday, March 26, 2009

Letter to graduate heading to college

Dear Kelly,
When I was eighteen I wished I knew so much more. The world was a big scary place filled with tons and tons of scary people. Who was I? What in the world was I going to do now? How was I supposed to get through every day? It’s really kind of mean the way the world just expects us to cope with everything just because we’re a certain age.
Over the years I have figured a few things out. Actually , I figured them out, forgot them and had to relearn them a few times over. So I thought if I could share my viewpoint with you maybe some things just might make a little more sense sooner. I believe you should always share what you learn just in case you might help someone else.
The following are maybe only true in my mind. Feel free to edit, interpret or ignore.
1. Every one and every situation has value to you. Look for it.
2. No one has power over you unless you give it to them. YOU CHOOSE to be offended, insulted, hurt, to feel inferior to be manipulated. You can choose not to feel insulted, to know you are never inferior, to not allow someone to manipulate you. It is always your decision. You can’t always choose the situation, you can choose your reaction.
3. It is ok if someone believes something that you don’t. It doesn’t make what you believe less valid. Try to understand why they believe what they believe and learn from them. It is your choice what you believe.
4. Be a sponge. Look, listen and learn wherever you are, whoever you’re with. You can learn so much just watching people’s faces, how they speak, how they react and how they treat others.
5. Don’t say negative things about yourself or to yourself. There’s no point, there is no value in it. Furthermore people believe what you tell them about yourself. ( I currently believe your forehead is too big. I didn’t before you pointed it out to me- go figure?)
6. Live in the truth. Everyone lies once in a while. Never make a habit of it. People lie because they think a lie will be or is easier than the truth. It’s not. Once the truth is “out” it can’t get any worse. So, it’s only as hard as it simply is. (I quite often use the phrase- “it is what it is“) A lie, however, requires much work. You have to keep track of it. Quite often more lies are needed to sustain the first. Eventually you have to lie to yourself just to live with yourself. I have literally, more than once, seen people’s lives ruined by lies. Most often it’s the ones they tell themselves that do the most damage. It’s a very sad thing. If nothing else, be honest with yourself. Live your life in the truth. It’s ok to be less than perfect but it takes guts to be honest.
7. Your ego needs a healthy diet and regular exercise. Build a good, healthy ego. Too many people concentrate on what they are not. Sometimes they spend an awful lot of time thing about their shortcomings. This is dangerous! There is no positive value to this and it wastes time. It creates negativity. Eventually this behavior inspires us to think other negative thoughts like- who’s to blame for your shortcomings, why you can’t do such and such, etc. etc. Wasted time and wasted effort. If you are honest and straightforward with yourself you can recognize and evaluate and enjoy all the facets of your personality. (Maybe you have a forehead the size of Texas. So what? Really- So what??? I bet no one notices if you don’t tell them. Or possibly you could rent out space on your forehead for advertising and make money to pay for college.) My point is, you aren’t really being honest with yourself when all you think about is “bad stuff”, honest is -”yeah, my ass is larger than Jennifer’s but I am not Jennifer, this is my ass and I either need to change it or like it. Furthermore the size of my ass really doesn’t change anything or actually matter- I still have to breathe in and out all day long, today , tomorrow and the next day and my large ass isn’t going to get me a better grade and if it gets me a better job than I probably don’t want that job.” Point being, back to the whole breathing in and out, day after day thing- isn’t it better and more honest to concentrate on the fortunate aspects of your life? You should tell yourself on a regular basis all the good things about yourself. Choose to enjoy yourself and be grateful for who your are. While you’re at it -tell other people the good things they might not see about themselves.
8. It is always your right to ask to be treated with respect. Sometimes you run into bullies. Sometimes they are just bullies because people let them be bullies. If someone is treating you in a way that makes you feel bad you owe it to yourself to deal with it. Be straight forward and polite but firm, and tell that person that they are being rude, etc and that it is not acceptable to you. They will respect you. They will most likely back down. They may be embarrassed. They may deny their behavior. Who cares! You addressed the situation so you can feel good about yourself. If you don’t handle the situation all that results is that you feel bad towards yourself, their bad behavior continues and probably continues on to someone else after you.
9. Standards are good. They give you something to strive for. Know when to dump them. I have a friend who used to tell everyone how particular she was about keeping her house clean. She didn’t know it but it made me feel bad because it wasn’t my highest priority. In being honest with myself, I had to admit that I didn’t have the luxury of feeling bad about it because taking care of the sick people in my family was more important and I was too human to be able to do everything, I had to let the clean house standard slide. Funny thing was (or actually rather sad thing ) is that same friend is now going through an awful divorce, working all the time and fully admits her house is a wreck and there is nothing she can do about it because she is only human. Life has a way of teaching us all the things we need to learn. Because I remember how bad I felt- I try really hard not to put my standards out there for other people to judge themselves by.
10. Life changes all the time. Remember I said I had to relearn a lot of these things over and over? All of these statements are easier to remember and easier to live by when life is going great. SSOOOooo much harder when things are tough! It is hard to remain positive when times are bad. It’s hard to think happy thoughts and love all the time. You will from time to time indulge in negativity. You are only human- give yourself a break!! If you were already perfect what would you have to work towards? Yuk! BE HONEST, You are a great person, just the way you are, large forehead and all and we are all better because we have you and your forehead in our lives.
Ps. I spent years, I mean years, thinking that I must wear bangs because when I was little I had chicken pox and have a divot in my forehead right between my eyebrows. One day a girl I knew said “can I see your forehead?” So I let her and she said it looked fine. She said it was nice. Not gorgeous, just nice. I have not had bangs since. I am free. I don’t even care that I am getting frown lines- I will not, I refuse to cover my forehead- unless I choose to, of course. Good God! Why do we think about these things so much!?
Anyhow, I think you are a great person with a lot to give to the world. Have a great year and every year after!

1 comment:

  1. This is great advice...though I graduated a LONG time ago I think I should heed it. Wish I'd known yo back then! How's the sculpture coming? It looks amazing! Wish I had your talent!!!!

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