A is for Amazing.
A.maz.ing: (adj.) inspiring awe, admiration or wonder (www.thefreedictionary.com).
Used as an adjective, amazing can also be used to describe something that is astounding, inspiring or incredible, pretty powerful yet scary words that can both motivating but also intimidating.
Whilst doing a little bit of background research for this post, I came across an interesting take on the word amazing stating that it can also be used when something is “really good”, which at first surprised me and then, more interestingly, led to a feeling of relief.
I started this post with the idea of giving everyone who needed it, a shout-out about how amazing we all are. I wanted to inspire, motivate and give you all a feel-good post and a pat on the back. So, imagine my surprise when my fingers started tap dancing to a different beat on my keyboard.
Amazing or awesome are words I often use to describe the people around me: teachers, parents, friends and loved ones, and I genuinely think you are (you can hear the but coming now right?) but, what if it didn´t matter if you were amazing? What if you were “just” good?
This post is as much for you as it is for me as this is an area that I could benefit to learn from because here is a little secret that I don´t often share: I don´t actually consider myself to be amazing in any way. At all. In fact, if I am really honest, I would even go so far as to say that I am my very own number one all-time, personal critic when it comes to, well, pretty much every aspect of my life. I am very hard on myself and although I take pleasure in my achievements, there is always a little voice whispering in the back of my head that tells me that I could have, should have done better.
As a teacher I have always been self-critical, and I am also very self-aware as a parent. After 20 years walking this path, I have never given myself the opportunity to think that being good has ever been good enough. I tell my 6 year old daughter who is already feeling the pressure of being perfect, that it is ok to make mistakes, that we all make mistakes and yet, I don´t seem to hear my own words. I tell her that she is awesome and that she has done a great job but also need to take time to remind her (and myself) that it also more than okay to do an okay job too.
My first year of teaching was probably one of the hardest and daunting years of my life. It was terrifying, awful and scary (as was being a first-time mother). I had no idea what I was doing and I refused to surrender and admit that I was way out of my depth and badly needed help. Everyone around me seemed to be competent and confident. I was embarrassed! How could I ever ask my colleagues for help? If they could do it, and with such apparent ease, then there must have been something wrong with me that I couldn´t.
Here´s another little secret that no one wants to tell you: none of us really know what we are doing. It´s true! Most of us are making it up as we go along and at the end of the day, the majority of us are just damn pleased to have managed to have survived to see the end of the day.
Asking for and accepting help can be so much harder than offering help. I am constantly trying to help or “fix” problems but what I often forget is that my help or advice is not always wanted or needed. It is an annoying habit that I am currently working on (hey, we all have our quirks right?).
I also know this to be true because, as a general rule I am the very last person to ask anyone for help. Ever. We are talking do or die situations and this is not a lesson I want to pass on to my daughter or anyone else. I would like her to learn that asking for help actually makes you a stronger and more empathetic person for it.
It is okay to offer to help and just because we are not immediately needed, does not mean that we have failed our students, children, husbands, wives or friends. It means that we cared enough to ask in the first place and that makes us pretty decent human beings to begin with don´t you think?
You should also feel free to accept or decline help when offered too. There is nothing wrong with that. A door has been opened and you are free to close it or walk through it whenever you wish. “Choice” is a beautiful word.
Part of being human is being able to make mistakes and learn from them. Mistakes make us who we are and shape and enrich our lives in all different kinds of crazy and beautiful ways that lead and guide us to be better, kinder and nicer people for it. Being good is often good enough.
So, a little little bit of “amazing” sprinkled here and there can go a long way and it is also just fine to colour outside the lines sometimes.
You got this (or maybe you don´t. But that´s okay too.)