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Prove Me Wrong

June 1, 2010

There are people who respond to negative expectations, to no one believing that they can do something. I’m not one of those people.  Someone might say to me, “I don’t think you can do that. Prove me wrong.” I find that statement undercutting. It’s a taunt. It’s malicious. I’m not wired to use that as fuel for the journey.

I hear, “you’re not worth it.” Or, “you’re not good enough.” Clearly this brings up a host of negative emotions and anger. I think, “Well, who in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks are you to be undermining me?”  But mostly I wonder if I am worth it. Or good enough. Or capable. Then, I feel ashamed for letting someone else’s opinions undermine my own.

And, I wonder why? How has pursuing something I believed in (or wanted to do) turned into a quest to prove something to someone else? I resent that stripping of ownership, of co-opting something that was mine. I become furious that I am expected to live my life to prove things to you. Do you live yours to prove things to me? If you do, then I wish you wouldn’t.

No, I’m fueled by optimism. Telling me, “I believe in you and I know you can do this,” is far more likely to help me achieve my goals.  Encouragement and positivity bolster me. Fire me up. Keep me warm on the long cold nights of a difficult journey.

I think this is because I believe in the power of positive expectations. Ever notice that things tend to work out for those who believe they will? My chances of success are higher if I believe I will succeed.

I believe that everyone is lovable and capable (a phrase borrowed from my days as a camp counselor).  But it’s more important to believe in yourself, to know that you are lovable and capable.

For me, phrases like “prove me wrong,” chip away at my feeling of capability. The more I hear it, the less capable I feel. The less capable I feel, the less I am actually able to achieve. That’s dangerous territory.  Luckily as I’ve moved into adulthood, I’ve been able to see those taunting phrases more objectively. I’ve been able to hear them and know that regardless, I am capable.

However, I think it’s important to be mindful of what you say. Of what you put out into the universe. It might be a little hippy, but wouldn’t we all be better served by just believing in each other? By knowing that we’re capable of incredible things, accepting others dreams and maybe, helping someone to achieve their dreams?

Instead of asking someone to prove you wrong, ask, “how can I help?” Isn’t that a better use of your energy?

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