The Importance Of Lifting Others (And Yourself) Up

The Importance Of Lifting Others (And Yourself) Up

Who is anyone, yourself included, to tell you you’re not good enough?
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Did you know, there’s a psychological anomaly called the Pygmalion Effect by which higher expectations actually result in an increase in performance. That is to say that if people, yourself included, believe in your abilities to accomplish something, you are more likely to succeed.

The reverse effect, by which low expectations lead to poorer performance, is dubbed the Golem Effect.

Although they are basic principles learned in any introductory psych course, I’ve been thinking about these two effects, good and bad, quite a bit as of late. Down on myself for my missed achievements, my inability to set a path for myself and a couple unwarranted criticisms, I’ve been caught in the trap of the Golem Effect.

With each slap on the wrist, revaluation, and remedy, I have continually heard “You can’t.” Granted, this voice is usually my own, but isn’t that worse? As I disregard my talents and zero in on my shortcomings, I expect less and less to come of my efforts, and following suit is a string of subpar essays, unfinished pieces, and mediocre assignments.

In reference to my last article, this all came to my immediate attention after I was denied a position for an internship I had already been offered. No criticism, no voice telling me “You’re not good enough,” other than mine.

I beat myself up over it for days and finally had an epiphany as I sat on the beach, watching the sunset with my boyfriend after a perfect day.

Who is anyone, yourself included, to tell you you’re not good enough? To tell you that you won’t do this or you can’t do that.

Herein lies my first point: Stop beating yourself up.

It’s cliché, but the only person you have to spend all your time with is yourself. You should be your own greatest supporter, your most trusted confidante, your loyal cheerleader. If you can’t give yourself the benefit of the doubt, you’ll only wind up disappointed with your failures and negligences, because you create them for yourself.

It’s crucial to your own success, your own happiness, that you do not stand in your own way. Treat yourself with the same love and respect you want others to treat you with.

Don’t allow yourself to get caught in this cycle of self-inflicted woe. Break it, bring yourself up and be amazed at your potential.

My second point is as such: Don’t forget to build others up, too.

The simple knowledge that someone else believes you can, makes all the difference. Be the one who stokes the fire of others’ passions, who inspires another’s creativity.

We all get so caught up in what we’re not doing and what we don’t have, that we forget to appreciate all we do have, what we have achieved.

We focus on others’ successes and our own failures that we forget to recognize every person has their own struggles and demons.

So give to yourself, give back to others, and enable everyone you interact with to feel this warmth of encouragement.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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10 Things I Learned From Growing Up In A Town Smaller Than A College Campus

A town straight out of a country song.

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With a population of just over 1,000, my hometown has given me so much in my 19 years of life. It's taught me things I would've never learned anywhere else (whether that be good or bad).

1. You know everyone and everyone knows you

This is so true, especially if you're a part of a big family. You're not only somehow related to everyone, but everyone knows which family you belong to. I can't go anywhere in town without at least one person recognizing me (which isn't a bad thing). If you were in the newspaper, there's a slight chance that multiple people will tell you as soon as they see you.

2. High school sports (especially football) are no joke 

As someone who cheered for four years, there's truly nothing like home football games. The sound of the crowd roaring behind you, the tunnel at the beginning of the games, and the sunsets gleaming onto the field. My senior year the football team almost went to state for the first time in 22 years. It was a HUGE deal for the community. The football players were like local celebrities and it was such an exciting time for everyone. There truly isn't anything better the spirit that surrounds small-town sports.

3. High school homecoming is a big deal for everyone

Unlike larger schools, basketball and football homecomings in my small town were like one big reunion for everyone. We have an elaborate theme for each homecoming and the Stu-co spent all day decorating it. The gym and sidelines were usually packed with people coming home to see old friends, to find out which candidate gets crowned queen, and to cheer on the athletes.

4. You live about an hour from just about everything

When I tell my college friends that I live an hour from the nearest Target, they think I'm joking. I'm being completely serious. If you needed some new clothes and shoes for school you had to make a whole day out of it. You also tried to schedule all of your doctors' appointments around the same time so you didn't have to make so many trips. An idea of a family outing meant going to a nice restaurant in "the big city" and seeing the newest movie. Something fun to do with my friends meant driving 30 minutes to get coffee, Sonic, or even just fooling around in Walmart. If we were really desperate, we even cruised the backroads listening to our favorite music.

5. You have so much respect for farmers and agriculture

I come from a family of farmers and my good friends in high school were daughters of cattle and dairy farmers. The farmers in my town are some of the kindest, smartest and most hardworking people I will probably ever meet. Seeing agriculture work in and out of my town has caused me to have so much respect for farmers and the industry. I've been caught behind a tractor and learned the hard way to not stop close to a stop-sign if a semi is turning my way. Yet I truly wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

6. High school relationships can get a little tricky

Dating in a high school of 100-something people was pretty hard. They were either related to you, taken, or like a brother to you. If you did find someone to talk to, there's a 90% chance that they've also talked to one of your friends. Most of the drama in my high school was an effect of someone dating someone else's ex.

7. You know everyone you graduated with

You don't just know them, you really know them. You know their full names, what their families do for a living, and who showed up at their kids' sporting events and who didn't. When you graduate with only 30-something other kids, it's hard not to know everyone on a super personal level.

8. When times get tough, people are always there for you

When a family of the community suddenly lost a loved one, the community immediately wrapped their arms around them and comforted them. Whether it was bringing meals to the grieving family, selling memorial T-shirts and bracelets, housing benefit dinners, or just being there for the family. If you were going through something heavy, someone always had your back.

9. You feel so loved coming home from college

I remember sitting in a lecture hall half the size of my hometown on the first day of classes and feeling overwhelmed. I thought, "How is anybody supposed to make friends at a college of 35,000 people?"

The first night home from college, I was welcomed home with open arms by everyone. I was reunited with former teachers, coaches, classmates, old friends and adults of the community. As much as I love college, it was so nice coming home to a place where everyone knows me.

10.  You couldn't of asked for a better upbringing

As much as I was ready to move to a bigger place after high school, growing up in a small town was the best thing I could ask for. It gave me a sense of community, support, and love that I wouldn't have been able to get elsewhere. My town sent me to college with enough support and encouragement to last a lifetime.

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People Who Are 'Not Creative' May Actually Be Overly Inspired

More often than not, I've heard people remark that they're "just not creative enough." No matter the activity or the job calling for creativity, it seems that people generally tend to feel creatively inadequate.

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As I chatted my way through an interview early Saturday morning, I was asked such a simple, yet thought-provoking, question. The interviewer asked me where I looked to for inspiration. Despite majoring in a field that revolves around finding constant sources of inspiration, I found myself stumped. After pausing for a quick moment, I settled on "history." I pride myself on being a self-proclaimed history geek, so the answer was 100% truthful. The answer doesn't matter so much as the fact that I found myself unexpectedly taken aback by the question.

In hindsight, I could've spent two hours discussing that question, alone. Maybe, that's where my problem occurred. With an overabundance of inspiration stemming from every aspect of life, how could it be that anyone, including myself, could ever be uninspired?

I've never been great at decision-making. It's not that I don't know what I want necessarily; it's more about making the "right" decision. As such, I often find myself overwrought with all the potential outcomes from one singular choice. Likewise, perhaps it's not the lack of inspiration, but the surplus, that intimidates us. When people speak of lacking creativity, I think it really may come from a place of being overwhelmed.

This past Monday, I found myself drowning in pools of possibility generated by a creative monsoon. To jump-start our major sewing projects for this semester, we were tasked with creating a "mind map." Mind maps are basically the catalyst of brainstorming and begin with a single word, such as a place, a person, or a thing. From this one word, the individual is tasked with generating more words and ideas that relate to the initial word. Mind Maps work very simply, yet they result in an almost endless web of ideas.

Unsure of how I initially felt about "mind mapping," I was quickly engrossed in the process. So much so, that I had to spend a great deal of time narrowing down all the ideas I'd generated from a singular word. At a certain point, my brain was on overload, and it almost seemed counterproductive with all of the refining and culling I'd have to do. The final instruction of the exercise was to draw out three words that would encapsulate the final products of our projects. Within the span of about two hours, I'd gone from no ideas to 20 odd words in a web, and finally, to three, solid foundational concepts.

I felt creatively motivated, but I also felt guided and organized. Even with all the inspiration Google was bombarding me with, I was able to sift through and pinpoint the most relevant material. In a way, I think this process is what "non-creatives" need in order to find their innate creative spark. It's not that these people don't have the imaginative capacity to create; it's that they need guidance to channel their potential.

Creative work, whether it's professional or for leisure purposes, can often seem overbearing and insurmountable. Despite the common belief that we're imaginatively inadequate, we may just be lost. We're good at creating mazes of ideas within our minds, but we often find ourselves struggling to navigate them. I believe finding outlets, like Mind Mapping, to channel our thoughts is the key to unlocking our creative potential.

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