By Linda Kay Silva
Recently, I was playing a doubles match in tennis. I am very generous with my kudos to my opponents whenever one hits a great shot. â€śWhat an awesome shot!â€ť Or â€śGreat shot!â€ť Flies from my mouth before I have chance to even think about it. I think greatness should be applauded and so it is a natural response for me to say it immediately when I recognize it. Unfortunately, those words also come flying out of my mouth when I make a great shot. I say unfortunately because my teammates have asked me to stop saying thatâ€¦ as if I could control itâ€¦ as if I needed to stand around waiting for somebody else to acknowledge something that, to me, was obvious. I donâ€™t think about it before I say itâ€¦ Iâ€™m not beating my chest or fist pumping or jumping up and downâ€¦ it comes out of my mouth as naturally for one of my own shots as it does for the other three people sharing the court with me.
So, this morning, when I ripped a winner down the line and quietly said to myself, â€śwhat a great shot,â€ť I realized how incredibly uncomfortable our society is with people who feel outwardly good about themselves. It is almost as if we would rather everyone walk around with an Eeyore complex bemoaning that we would â€śnever make it.â€ť Thereâ€™s a reason our society is glued to dozens upon dozens of negative television shows where people are screaming at each other, where people are putting each other down, where there is nothing but negativity and darkness. We are comfortable with that.
We are used to that. We are uncomfortable around people who recognize their own greatness... with people who truly like who they are. Talk show after talk show, reality show after reality show, we thrive on watching people not only tear each other down, but allow themselves to be torn down by others. Apparently, we even find it worth watching.
Oh, but beware of the person who thinks highly of themselves! Oh no!
So when my teammates blushed and asked me to stop something that is an instinctual complement for anyone on the court with me, including myself, I realized they were really threatened by my self-confidence, my assurance, and my ability to acknowledge when I do something well. This is the antithesis of how we are â€śsupposedâ€ť to be in the American society today.
If you walk tall, feel positive about yourself, and donâ€™t take any crap from anyone else, you are arrogant. People are afraid of those who feel good about themselves because suddenly, those who do not feel good about themselves have to look in the mirror and deal with the reality of their situation.
Lessening myself does not build anyone else upâ€¦ but we are so conditioned to hide our light under a bushel that when someone doesnâ€™t follow along with such illogical and irrational ways of working in the world, we have to bring them down with words like cocky, overconfident, or arrogant.
Well, if feeling good about who I am and what I do in the world is arrogantâ€¦ Iâ€™ll take it. Nobody else has to walk in my skin 24 hours a day, so I refuse to allow anyone else to bring me downâ€¦just like I refuse to let my teammates dictate what comes out of my mouth when I make a great shot. If I were jumping up and down and acting like a fool, then I could see where that would be irritating and obnoxiousâ€¦ but I donâ€™t. Rarely do I even say it loud enough for anyone else to hearâ€¦ but when they doâ€¦ why should they care? Who is it hurting? Why does it bother anyone at all? Since when did acknowledging our strengths become a weakness? Since when did feeling good about ourselves become a crime? Who made those stupid rules up and why do so many of us follow them?
I, for one, refuse to buy into those inane social rules. I am not someone who believes that every kid on a soccer team should get a ribbon regardless of whether they played or not. I am not someone who believes in giving false praise or being embarrassed for doing something well. So much of the Law of Attraction revolves around how we truly feel about ourselves...how feeling good about ourselves is like a glowing light attracting others who also feel good about themselves to us. I want those kind of people in my lifeâ€¦so what I put out there, I get back. Donâ€™t let anyone slap labels on you because you like who you areâ€¦ so many people fear and even loathe those of us who truly like ourselves-- and I say, better you loathe me than me loathe myself. There is enough self-loathing going onâ€¦I doubt Iâ€™ll be missed.
- Write to Linda Kay Silva at email@example.com