Monday, June 9, 2008

You Can Do Anything

Dear Son,
A thought crossed my mind as a topic for one of my letters. We were talking about something tonight and you made the comment that the task was "sissy". I thought that was an interesting word to use and really assumed that it was one you heard from friends as I don't use it nor does your father. It led me to further wonder what chain of events led to the use of that word in the setting you first heard it. I gather from this and other passing comments, that you care a great deal about how what you do and say will be perceived by those around you. I am this way too. (So are a great many people in the world.) I think this is probably one of the most widely experienced fears, the fear of not being liked.

Let me tell you a little secret I have recently learned after years of scanning memories and experiences I have had; people will like anything you do if you believe in it yourself. I know this sounds simple, and really it is, but it's hard to master.

Do you remember when you got that haircut you didn't like? Your biggest concern was that the next day your friends would laugh at you. You were afraid they would make fun of how you looked. (For the record, the haircut was fine but it wasn't what you asked for so it was hard for you to come to grips with.) As your mom I was delighted to have a great secret to impart that evening. Seriously, I was excited because I know this works, you just have to believe in it yourself. I told you that even if your friends thought your haircut was the ugliest thing on the planet, if you thought it was great then they would eventually too.

All great people (and I mean anyone who has stuck to their guns on something) know this secret. It's the same secret that will keep you safe when your friends may choose to drink. It's the same secret that will keep you honest when someone wants the answers to the test. It's the same secret that will let you smile when the shirt you may be wearing is the butt of the jokes of everyone around you. It's what will allow you to accomplish great tasks when everyone says you can't. You've got to believe in it, believe in yourself and nothing anyone says will ever stop you.

But beware, don't confuse believing in yourself with self esteem. (Self esteem is a silly notion that someone came up with to make it okay to think only about one's self.) Believing in yourself is the security of knowing that what you are doing is right and good and that you will keep trying to get it right. It's knowing that what you have to bring to the world can help others to be better too. Always believe in yourself! Even if it is hard and many would tell you you're wrong, believe in yourself! You can do great things when you are free from the constraints of self doubt.

I believe in you!

Love, Mom