When I was 15 years old, I came home one day feeling on top of the world; it was the day of my quarterly report card. In my hand was a document revealing straight A’s!
I showed my mom, who seemed pleased. Then, she took the report card and together, we walked into the living room to present my perfect scholastic report to the leader of the home, her husband, my (ex)stepfather. He briefly glanced at the report card, handed it back to me, and muttered, “That’s what you’re supposed to do.”
I can’t say I was surprised at his response. He was known for being such a hard person to please, a leadership figure whose presence loomed in the house like a dark silhouette. There was no reward, no ‘at a girl, no hug or other positive affirmation, and no recognition of the discipline, hours of study and hard work I invested into being an excellent student. I don’t think he even glanced at me.
And then, I was dismissed.
Deflated, I somehow mustered the courage to still hang in there and continued my straight-A pursuit throughout high school, for my own edification, knowing that one day my hard work would eventually be acknowledged and rewarded. I later graduated Valedictorian of my high school class and matriculated into Spelman College with scholarships—the memory of my (ex)stepfather became a fleeting vapor.
So many people, especially women, have moments throughout their life when their hard labor and honest performance are minimized, sidelined, or dismissed altogether. You can do everything right and still not feel like you’re winning. You can thrust every fiber of your being into something or someone, make every effort to produce great results, and still not get the validation from the individuals you want to notice you.
When this happens to you, keep standing. In my experience, I learned these truths to help me stay encouraged:
- There is a superstar inside of each of us . God, the source of all creation, designed your life with an assignment that only you can fulfill. Every disappointment, mishap, success or failure is to prepare, teach, strengthen, guide and direct you toward living out your own unique, intended creation.
- “The rocks will cry out.” Everyone will not be your cheerleader, including some of those in your immediate circle. Live out your intended creation anyway. Eventually, others will recognize and reward your brilliance—opportunities will then begin to find you.
- People come and people go. Therefore, love your work and the fulfillment it brings to you rather than seeking approval or advancement by pleasing people, whose opinions and loyalties shift like the wind.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
- From whom do you seek validation, approval or permission? Why?
- What specific areas in your life are you winning?
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