In a small town, a few hours north of where I live, a young man shot, critically injured and killed several students at his high school. This young man, a star athlete, popular and good student then shot himself.
How on earth does a dynamic young person crack to the point he shoots fellow students and then shoots himself? I am told that the conjecture is that a girlfriend had broken up with him a couple weeks prior.
A student, interviewed by CNN said that this young man had recently been chosen as part of the homecoming court and “that (title) means … teachers like you. Your peers like you. You’re a person that everyone likes and a good person.”
Think about this, you are the center of positive reinforcement for both your academic and athletic endeavors and on top of that everyone likes you. How then, does something like this happen?
I’ll tell you what I think, whether the conjecture is true or not, this is TRUTH…
So many people derive their self worth externally. My “old” self included. External self worth requires others to give self worth to you. It requires over achieving, over working, over doing. It requires a person to put themselves in positions, that may not even been in alignment with who they are, but somewhere along the way a message was imprinted “do this and we will love and support you”. Yes – being a good student, a good athlete and being well liked are all things to be proud of, but they are things. What’s real comes from inside
Want to cheer someone on? Cheer them on for their “isms”. The kid-isms. Mom-isms. Dad-isms. Friend-isms. The “isms” that make us all the unique individuals we are. Those quirks that drive parents, partners and friends nuts – lovingly roll your eyes, smile, laugh and hug the heck out of those you love. It’s the “isms” that make the person who they are.
For parents – love and praise your kids for who they are, with of course positive reinforcement for their accomplishments. Continually remind them that “who they are” is who you love. What they do is the stuff life is made up of.
For adults everywhere – pause for a moment. Where do you derive your self worth from? Is it external or internal? If all the external was stripped away, how would you feel about yourself?
Love your “isms” and embrace what makes you, you and what makes them, them.
Self worth – it’s an inside job. Please keep the conversation going!