I read an article by William Deresiewicz called, "What are you going to do with that?" from The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/What-Are-You-Going-to-Do-With/124651/). This particular quote stood out amongst the rest:
"True self-esteem means recognizing, despite everything that your upbringing has trained you to believe about yourself, that the grades you get—and the awards, and the test scores, and the trophies, and the acceptance letters—are not what defines who you are."
This hit home. In my 30 years of life, I've always felt attending school, earning degrees and awards defined me. I still feel it does in some form or fashion. Although I like to think there's more to me than school and career, they definitely play a big role in my life. They are the things that keeps me going, motivated, and determined. I've always relied on them to feel good about myself, knowing I had a bigger purpose in life than snagging a boyfriend, wearing nice clothes or being popular. Since childhood, I wanted to make a difference and school was the way. Sounds simple doesn't it? Not really. Believe it or not, it was those things that held me back from having a boyfriend, wearing nice clothes, or being popular. I sacrificed those things so I can be a better person. By being better, I can be the best for others.
I realized that all of this takes courage. I don't think having courage is easy, in fact, I believe it's one of the most difficult things to possess. I'm not always courageous. I think Mr. Deresiewicz said it best that true self-esteem is about recognizing self. Even at this age and new transformation, I still worry, have fears, and feel hurt by negative responses from people I care about. I'm learning that this is part of being human and human emotion is stronger than physical strength. I'd like to believe I have courage in what I do. Of course, there's always room for improvement.