Saturday, October 1, 2011

My "Messy Desk" Award

For much of my life, I have seen myself through the eyes of my family, my friends, my teachers.  I was as others perceived me to be.  I was the “excellent” student and earned much recognition for my academic successes.  When I graduated from New York Chiropractic College in 1999, my mom gave me a binder that contained just about every certificate of achievement I had ever received, from grade school through my undergraduate years.  

There are two awards that I am most struck by.  “The Messy Desk” award that I received in the 5th grade and “The Trooper Award…for endurance during some really rough times,” that I received from The Office of Housing & Residence Life at Rutgers University in May 1995.

So, why the “Messy Desk” award?  The irony is at this very moment, this award holds true.  Right now,  there is a clutter of  many, many journals and much paper;  but, the greater reason is that I can recall the exact moment I received this award.  I felt utterly humiliated as my teacher just smiled and my classmates laughed.  It did not matter that these same classmates had selected me for the “Most Studious” award.  I do not remember whether or not I beamed with pride when I received the “Super Scientist” or “Music Award” for “Excellence in Vocal Music,” that same day. 

I have gotten better at facing criticisms.  Not because I grew “thicker skin,” but by bringing to the surface the root of my insecurities that were buried deep within and releasing the emotional charge connected to those earlier situations.   It is a process, but I am  learning to let go of others' opinions of me.  Today, I can laugh about my “Messy Desk” award because my adult self  understands that it was not my teacher’s intent to do any serious harm.  This instance of humiliation also served its purpose in allowing me to be conscious of my interactions and choice of words, especially with children. 

Learn how to release the emotional charge connected to those early situations that prevent you from living your fullest potential.  Let go of  the opinions of others without losing yourself to them. 

Love to you,

Kathleen O'Malley

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