By Lee Sullivan
As the first topic of our new Random Writers project, I found this one very difficult. As a matter of fact, when the topic was first presented, I just sat back and said, “Huh?” This was truly a concept I was not familiar with. Since my earliest childhood memories, I can only recall positive words of encouragement from the people in my life. I really struggled to find some example of someone not believing in me. Then, after much thought, I realized that the one constant person who had not believed in me was me.
Let’s start with failed relationships. I can’t possibly be the only dumpee that’s believed the reason for being dumped was my own fault. No matter how stupid or immature or drunk the dumper was, it must surely be something I did or didn’t do that caused it. If only I could identify the offensive behavior and change it, the relationship would fall right back into place and we would live happily ever after. No way was it anything other than my fault. Okay, how many hours, days, weeks, months, have I wasted trying to fix something that wasn’t broken because I didn’t believe in myself? A lot. I’ve wasted a lot of time before realizing I was just fine and nothing I could have said or done would have changed the idiotic behavior of said dumper. It was only after I changed my perspective, picked up the pieces of my broken heart and moved on that I realized I was the idiot for not believing in myself.
I suppose the greatest defeat in my educational career came when I received a rejection letter from Auburn University’s School of Pharmacy. I had been working as a pharmacy tech for 4 years and was absolutely certain I would make the greatest pharmacist ever. For a couple of years I took pre-requisite classes full-time and worked full-time, but never quite achieved the exceptional GPA required to be admitted into one of the nation’s top pharmacy schools. I was sure my glowing letters of recommendation and years of experience would outshine any B or C I had received. Yeah, I got that wrong. I was crushed and completely doubted everything about myself. I sank into one hell of a depression and convinced myself I was going to be nothing more than a minimum wage earner for the rest of my life.
The problem with this whole scenario was that I completely set myself up for failure. I was totally delusional in thinking that I, with my 2.5 GPA, would be selected over the hundreds of other applicants who had solid 4.0 GPAs. However, I had a dream, I was highly encouraged to pursue it, and I did pursue it with reckless abandon. To pull myself out of that depression was simply a matter of recognizing this. I just had to change the way I looked at this set-back to recover from it.
I was recently up for a promotion at work. I was sure this job was for me and no one else could possibly even be considered. That was until I found out that not only would I have to go through an interview process, so would six other people. SIX. WTF?!? Immediately there was a voice in my head that said if others were even being considered, then someone didn’t believe I was qualified to do the job. People I respected and worked with every day did not believe in me. I was crushed. My self-esteem was destroyed. For more than a week, I sat on this self imposed hatred and even refused to submit my application. Why on earth would I subject myself to that kind of rejection? If these people did not believe I was good enough, then I must not be good enough.
Then something happened. A voice said to me, “it’s your time”. I heard it over and over again. No matter which way I turned, for hours on end, I heard it. “It’s your time. It’s your time.” It never changed and it never waned. It was one of those times in our lives that God’s voice manifests though some momentous event in our lives. For me, it was before, during and after I watched the space shuttle Atlantis roar toward the heavens for the final time.
Before that day, I had allowed myself to fall prey to my own insecurities. I had allowed something that wasn’t even real to creep into my head and take it over. It is standard procedure at my place of employment to post jobs openings, accept resumes and then interview all qualified applicants. I needed to remind myself that I was just as qualified as anyone else applying for the job and that if I wasn’t selected, then it wasn’t that someone didn’t believe in me, it was simply that someone else was more qualified than me. I also realized that if I didn’t submit my resume and potentially fight like hell for something I really wanted, then it would certainly NOT be my time. As it turns out, the position was closed before a decision was ever made.
I’m not sure what exactly God was telling me that day. Maybe that it was my time to see the shuttle launch or that it was my time to win $2 on a scratch off ticket. What I do know is that when faced with someone who didn’t believe in me, even when that someone was me, all I had to do was change my point of view and change my mind to see things in a completely different light. Maybe I will or maybe I won’t get that big promotion if it ever presents itself again. It doesn’t matter. I know in my heart that I would have rocked it. As long as I believe in myself, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.