Thursday, September 24, 2009

You're Not Talented

"It is usually when we are young that we learn to think we are not talented; we are told so by teachers, parents, and other adults. Inevitably, their evaluations are firmly tied to contexts - to particular schools of thought in particular periods of time - although they are typically unaware of it. We accept their evaluations because we are inexperienced: we don't realize that the contexts in which we are being judged really say little about our talent."

I know I keep quoting this book but have you ever read one of those books that was just the right book at the right time and everything in it was what you needed to hear? Ok, that's how this book is for me. So, if you're tired of reading about this book, please forgive me! It is just having a big impact on my life at the moment. For that, I won't apologize.

When I read this quoted section of the book that I stated above, it fit me to a T! All my life, I was told how much I didn't know and how many mistakes I made and how I didn't fit in and how I really didn't know what was best for me. These things and more were reinforced through fits of rage, screaming, moments of beatings and just an overall mindset of daily mind control that was exerted upon me. Some of the things were very subtle and some of them could be easily recognized. Many had a role in this from my own parents and siblings to the teachers at school and those that I knew from church.

While I don't remember the exact specifics, I do remember being in first grade and not being able to do first grade math. None of it was sinking into me at the time and I remember my dad making me go through flash card after flash card of first grade math facts that we had to learn. He probably meant well, but when I would get one wrong, he would scream and belittle me. Of course that was during the time that I was first raped and things were pretty horrible in my life. So, it is no wonder that learning was difficult. The ultimate result was that I was held back from First Grade and put back into Kindergarten. I somewhat remember the knots in my stomach during that time and I'm sure my mind and body remembers more than I do consciously.

There were other times though I was put down and I distinctively remember when I was just creating with the songs that I was playing in the piano. I was allowing myself to hit whatever keys my fingers landed on. At the time, some were good notes and some weren't but I was just in the moment playing. Overall, the little tune that came out was pretty good but I remember hearing my dad state to me that there were sure a lot of mistakes in that song, what was the song? This coming from a man that had no musical ability whatsoever but in this moment, he had pronounced himself as judge, jury and executioner. It took me a very long time before anyone else ever got to hear me create in the moment.

We've all got stories that may be similar or different to mine. I could name thousands of them. I doubt any one of us could escape this type of behavior even if the adults around us were well intentioned. I'm sure we have passed the same thing on to others at moment we didn't realize it as well.

The best thing I find is to learn how to allow myself to be a kid again. Some people refer to this as getting in touch with the inner child. But, in simplest form, it is just connecting with that pure, innocent, child like part of yourself that exists in all of us. Freud recognized this back in his day and it is there, whether we want to acknowledge its existence or not. It doesn't mean we have to sit down on the floor and play with toy cars or dolls, although that could be a good start to the child connection within us. It can be much simpler than that.

If we go through our day, enjoying and loving everything we do - we are like the child that is having fun playing in the moment. If you have forgotten what that is, just watch some children playing and you'll soon remember. For they play as if there is no tomorrow, no rules and nothing else that has to be done. This is something I constantly have to remind myself of as well. For being in the moment, enjoying the moment and acting as if there is nothing else in our lives can bring us back to the basic, simple moment that matters so much in who we are as humans. It isn't any harder than that, although we as adults make it hard.

So for today, as you read this, see if you can find the fun moments in your day.
Enjoy your day. Have fun with it! Find the playful side of it. Think of the things you have to do as playful and fun events of your day. - Don Shetterly

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