Friday, February 3, 2012

How My Own Value Shows Itself In Many Forms and The Importance Of Seeing Many Points of View

One of my many jobs includes substitute teaching at a high school (the very place where I used to teach full time actually).  I’ve covered classes on everything from physics to dance, and I really enjoy being able to work with the kids without the stress of being there 12 – 15 hours a day.

Today, I had the immense pleasure of covering choir. I chose the word immense on purpose.  The kids insisted that they sounded abysmal, but I really enjoyed listening to them sing.  

Their voices were young, and alive and they really sang their hearts out. Their singing brought a huge smile to my face, and I felt remarkably lighter than I had when I first entered the room.

They said they were dreadful, and I thought they were brilliant!

I wondered then, how did these students come to the conclusion that they sucked? I imagine they have listened to other singers, and compared their own voices to what they heard. Maybe their choir director has high standards for them, and their adolescent minds perceived that as ,“My god you kids are horrible” (as opposed to a more seasoned mind, which might just interpret that as “gonna keep working to be the best I can be”). I’m sure teasing among classmates about being off key, voice cracks or missed notes isn’t absent either.

I find heart everywhere!
And what about my opinion? Certainly my enjoyment was not negated by the students’ opinions of themselves. Just as much as the students believed they were horrible singers, I believed they sang wonderfully. Both beliefs were valid and both held truth in them.

As Andrew over at Byteful Travel so elegantly stated, truths are in the eye of the beholder, or in other words, our beliefs shape our reality.

New to this equation, and new to me is the importance of seeing beyond a single set of beliefs on a given topic, and accepting many different beliefs at the same time. In essence, believing many truths at once.

For the above-mentioned students, this could mean continuing to believe that they have a lot of work to do to become excellent singers, and at the same time accepting the fact that there is beauty to what they have already created.  I believe this viewpoint enriches a person tremendously. With a newly accepted point of view about their singing, not only would the students realize that their work has some value to someone, but their perception that they suck will probably have morphed into the aforementioned more wizened opinion that there is always work to be done to be the best you can be.

This concept also applies to relationships. This is an especially difficult concept for me, as for various personal reasons I often have this nagging feeling that I’m just not really worth anyone’s time.   

However, I am now beginning to understand that even though sometimes I feel detestable, it is entirely possible that others can see me in a completely different light, enjoy my company and think I am wonderful.

I think character Sam #2 in the film Happythankyoumoreplease says this quite well:

It’s not easy to be adored… but I want you to give it at try. Think of it as an experiment. I promise I will be very wonderful at adoring you. You're worth the adoration. You're worth it. And the fact that you don't believe it has nothing to with whether it's true or not. It is true for me. And that is all that matters.

How does this affect me on a daily basis? To put it simply, in the past, at times when I let myself believe I was unwanted, I would hide myself. What better way is there to guarantee you will not be valued than to not exist at all? By accepting that other view points exist, I am actually giving myself more opportunities to realize that I am valuable by spending time with people who show that they value me.  In turn, I am changing my belief system from self hate into self acceptance, by proving to myself through experience, a new world view.

And so I challenge myself to open my mind beyond my own perceptions and to accept the opinions of others as valid, because they are!  This is of utmost importance.

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