The Power Of A Positive Identity
Many years ago an author named Norman Vincent Peale was visiting a city in Hong Kong. As he walked down the street he noticed a tattoo parlor. In the window he saw displays of the various tattoos that were available: an anchor, mermaid, a flag, etc. But what he found shocking was three words that could be tattooed on a person. The phrase was “Born to lose.”
Mr. Peale walked into the shop and spoke to the tattoo artist. He said, “Does anyone really have that terrible phrase ‘Born to lose” tattooed on their body? The Chinese man replied, “Yes, sometimes.” Mr. Peale asked, “Why would they do that?” The artist tapped his forehead and said “Before tattoo on body, tattoo on brain.”
What names were you called when you were growing up? Hopefully you were called good encouraging names. But if you were like many children or teenagers, you were at least occasionally teased or insulted. Names like “skinny, fatso, shorty, klutz, ugly, lazy, stupid, and dummy” can really hurt our feelings. If they were said to us by a family member or a teacher or a friend the insults may have devastated us.
What is even more damaging is when we believe these names and they became a part of our core identity. As a wise person once said, “It is not important what people call you, but it is important what you answer to.” This is why your “self-talk” needs to be positive and encouraging. For example, what do you say to yourself when you make a mistake? Do you call yourself “stupid” or “dummy?” Instead, when you make a mistake, affirm yourself for bravely taking the initiative despite the risk. Look upon failure as an indicator that you are learning and growing.
Always remember that regardless of what people say about you that you are person of great worth and value. You are a unique person and God has a special plan for your life. When people act disrespectfully to you, realize that that they are probably dealing with emotional problems. Don’t take it personal. Let their words just bounce off of you. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow observed, “He who respects himself is safe from others; he wears a coat of mail that none can pierce.”