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Don't Let Someone's Opinion Crush You

In 7th grade, one of my teachers told me that I was a terrible writer.

As a kid with massive self-esteem issues and no confidence, this comment absolutely CRUSHED me! I got into the car that day and was deadly silent. Immediately, my mom knew something was wrong. After some hugs and coaxing and be bursting into tears, she got what was wrong out of me. And when I told her, she was irate, but... instead of diving into how cruel and inappropriate that teacher was, she told me something empowering I’ll never ever forget:

Don’t you dare let someone else’s opinion determine what you can or cannot do.

This advice has stuck with me ever since because my mom was right. Even though I wrote an absolutely terrible compare and contrast essay on the varying nutritional components of Mac and Cheese, that one paper didn't mean I was the world's worst writer.

So, I took the afternoon to be sad, and then, I became determined

When the next assignment rolled around for our sex ed unit, I was dead set on being the best. We were tasked with writing a role play script between two teenagers; one was supposed to pressure the other into having sex, while the other was supposed to stay firm to their boundaries of not having sex before they were ready.

I worked my tail off to ensure that my script would be the very best. I wrote it and rewrote it, and even workshopped it with my mom.

"Meghan," mom said. "I think that what you have is good, but... I also think that if you're really going to blow this assignment out of the water, you're going to have to stop referring to sex as 'it,' and say the word."

Of course, my young teenage self was mortified. I didn't want to stand up in front of the class and say sex a million times. I knew my face would be redder than a tomato.

But, if that's what it took, that's what I would do.

I revised the script once more, and mom and I read it out loud, and we both just knew. This was a stellar script, and more of a testament to the writer I was than the initial Mac and Cheese assignment made it seem.

The next day I marched into school, volunteered to read my script first, stood in front of the class, and read the crap out of that script. While some kids chortled because I said "sex" instead of "it," I committed to reading that script with confidence and poise. Eventually the chortling died out, and people listened. Because the script was that good.

And in the process, I proved to myself how wildly capable and smart I was, despite the teacher's rude and inappropriate comments.

This was such a defining moment for me that I know you can connect with, too. We all experience people or moments in our lives when someone says something mean-spirited or inaccurate or hurtful. It's one of those unfortunate parts of life.

That's why we have to be resilient.

We have to actively and intentionally decide that we're not going to let someone else's cruel opinion of us or our work or our goals determine our worth or what we are or aren't able to do.

So, when someone says something mean to you:

  • Don’t believe the hate.

  • Remember that you’re amazing and resilient badass.

  • Keep going!

No one gets to determine what you can or cannot do. It's your life.



P.S: If you want to hear more about resiliency, you can listen to The Power Within Her Podcast.

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