The Labels We Carry
I was labeled a “dumb jock” in high school. I made the varsity softball team my freshman year and also played volleyball. I was the first girl in my class to letter in a varsity sport. But I carried the label “dumb jock” around subconsciously for decades. Even despite my parents reminding me otherwise.
Most of my teachers did not pay much attention to me. I did have one math teacher who was a wonderful and caring woman that helped coach me along; probably would not have passed math SOLs without her. I honestly went to school just so I could participate in sports.
I remember feeling like the guidance counselor shooed me out of her office while discussing colleges because I was not in the top 10% of the class (eye roll). But I made it through high school, with at least a 3.0. Not too terrible for a “dumb jock” right?
Fast forward to college. IT.WAS.SO.DIFFICULT. I will add that I did attend a private liberal arts school that is known for difficult grading. 2008, Made it through undergraduate (see “This is Ty’s Story” for more info on what I was doing post undergraduate).
While completing undergraduate, I had expressed interest to two undergraduate professors that I would potentially like to pursue a PhD at some point. I was basically told I likely would not be successful in graduate school because I was “an average student.” Ironically, one of those professors actually wrote a letter of recommendation for my applications to MSW programs. However, the professor did not respond when I let them know I got into NYU.
I wish I could say that I stopped carrying the label of “dumb jock” once I was accepted and started graduate school. But unfortunately, people that attend NYU are not dumb and comparing myself to them did not help my case. It took at least the first year of school for me to realize I am in fact intelligent and not average.
The moral of the story is that we all carry labels. All of us. Even licensed therapists because we are all human. They may be subconscious or may be something we unfortunately tell ourselves everyday.
I challenge you to do some self-reflection. And identify the labels you are carrying. And then, I challenge you to start writing down or speaking out loud positive affirmations to yourself daily (this is one of those examples of “talking to yourself the way you would a friend”).
For example “I am smart. I am loved. I am strong. I am forgiving. I am brave. I am loving. I am funny. I am loyal. I am kind. I am worthy.” You will start to believe all the positive things that people know and love about you, instead of the ugly labels you have created for yourself.