Be Your Best YOU!
First a story and then a challenge below...
Defining Your Journey is Key to Being Your Best You!
I have a secret for you....ya ready???
Your parents think they know what's best for you. Your teachers, your brothers, your sisters and your friends might also think they know what's best for you. What you see on TV and social media may try to tell you what you need to look like, act like, talk like, think like, shop like and speak like. Reality shows and celebrities may even try to convince you that status, possessions and appearance is what makes you a success but they DON'T have say over YOU. Parents should and do have the most influence over you and rightfully so because they love you and want more than anything for you to be happy and successful. However, there are hundreds and hundreds of daily choices you get to make independently. Ultimately, the only one with authority over YOU...is YOU.
Am I recommending that you rebell over everything and everyone in your life? Absolutely not. However, it IS empowering to know that even at the young age of 11, 12, 13 and 14 years, you DO have an active role in molding who you are and where you're going in your life. And when you harness this power by focusing your efforts and being intentional with your choices, you WILL be your BEST YOU! Your are far more effective in your life when you spend even just a few minutes defining what you want now and in the future. Do you know exactly where you're headed? Of course not, but seeing the entire staircase of your life is not needed to start walking up the first steps in an efficient and effective way.
Imagine you are floating in a canoe upon the ocean. The only ideas, behaviors and beliefs allowed in your "boat" are the ones you personally decide to bring inside your canoe. Now, as captain of your own boat, it is wise to listen to the instruction from those around you. I'll even go as far to say that It is downright foolish to reject input from those that are older, more experienced and that have skillfully navigated their own canoes for many years. This teaching is even mentioned in the bible; Proverbs 12:15 the way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
But how do you know when to let water into your canoe and which waves do you simply watch go by? How do you know what to adopt as your own concept of right and wrong or what success is and what it is not? What decides which music you like, what friends you hang with and what activities you participate in? What determines the way you relate to friends, teachers and coaches? We all have to have "girl code" or "guy code" or the things we accept or reject as being part of who we are. As a nurse, I have a code of ethics and a practice act to follow at all times. It guides my professional practice. Similarly, I have personal standards that guide my day to day behaviors and choices. If we freely float in our boat with no direction, we most likely will end up lost at sea. Even the best teenagers can end up hanging with people and doing things even they didn't think they ever would. The very best way to navigate our life is by following a map.
The first step in developing our map is to define our route and set goals for our journey. This doesn't take much time; just a pen and paper. Or a note entry on your iPhone. So, sit down and tune out the world. Be sure and listen to that small voice inside of you. When we define ourselves and not allow our friends and media to do it for us, we are more likely to be successful because it's our own true voice. We are most passionate about the things that WE believe in. These answers will change over time and probably often as you learn more about YOU and what is most important to you. Certain life experiences can completely revamp our core beliefs....and this is a good thing. It means you are growing.
Define these parameters:
My school work
How I treat others
My extracurricular activities
My spiritual life
Here's a few examples of what you might write. Be sure and be realistic and true to who you are. If you're creative, include that creativity in your dress and your fun activities. You can be creative and have your own style and originality but still be a responsible and respectable teenager! And don't forget to dream big about your future! Do NOT listen to NAYSAYERS about what you want to be. More than likely your friends and family ENCOURAGE your dreams and not snuff them out. Be sure your goals are realistic and attainable. Otherwise, you can set yourself up for failure and that is no fun. But be sure they are ambitious enough to keep you challenged and inspired.
School: I am committed to grades of 85 and above. As long as I know I do my very best, I will not allow others to make me feel bad about my grade should they drop below my goal. When I am honest with myself, I know when I could have worked harder and need to attend tutorials or stay focused on homework.
Health: I have been blessed with an awesomely complex physical body that is capable of great things. I have a duty to maintain my health by refusing drugs, alcohol and doing things that hurt it. In fact, I want to see just what I am capable of doing when I eat right, sleep well and exercise as I should. I will have sick days and occasional lazy days but these are the exception, not the rule for my life. Even if people are sluggish all around me, on their phones endlessly, eating fast food or even doing drugs; I will not.
When your daily life choices are in alignment with your fundamental truths, you will inevitably become Your Best You! When you are your best YOU, life just feels right. You won't feel torn between what your parents want and what you want (at least not quite as much). How you feel about yourself won't be at the whims of your friends or at what media says you should be.
As surprising as this may be, even well-intentioned teachers and parents can say things out of frustration or fear that could make you feel really bad about yourself. For example, "if you don't study more, you will fail out of school and then you'll be living on the street." Ok, so, clearly this is an exaggeration. Now, because you've already sat and tuned out the world and decided for yourself who and what you are, these poorly stated criticisms will have less impact on you.
Next, we all know how bad bullying is. And despite all the negativity around bullying, people still do it. I will never understand what on earth could be the least bit pleasant about making someone else miserable! AAAACK! As a school nurse, it kills me to see downtrodden middle schoolers who seem to actually BELIEVE what a bully says about them. Or at the very least, they allow the bully to question their value as a person. A bully has no self-esteem. The bully sees the world as he sees himself. So when a bully bullies, he is defining himself and never the person who he targets. His opinion has literally nothing to do with his victim.
The key here is that we cannot control what others say or do but we CAN control our response to it. When you've taken the time to sit down and decide once and for all who you are and to stop any dirty, nasty water from getting inside your boat, bullying will have minimal effect on YOU.
So, why is the school nurse addressing these issues? Well, science is clearly showing us that every single thought that travels through our brain, affects our health. Every little thought emits chemical reactions in the brain and hormones are released in your body which affect your gastrointestinal system, your metabolism, your circulation and your immune system. Therefore, remaining positive, challenged (not overwhelmed), inspired (not stressed out), goal-driven, having a positive sense of self all create a healthy environment inside your brain and your body. A healthy body most undoubtedly begins with a healthy mind. As your school nurse, I see first hand how stress, worry, sadness and anger can literally make students physically ill. When you feel ill, it makes keeping up with life demands even more difficult.
Aside from my professional obligations, the students here at Robinson are a GREAT bunch and I hope you all grow into happy, well-adjusted, successful people that are resilient and able to navigate your boat back to shore.
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it...
*Next weeks challenge is about kicking out Coke/soda and drinking mainly water Monday through Friday. How do feel without all that sugar? Did your energy improve? Did your skin even look clearer? Earn your second colored wristband at the end of the second challenge. Details next week.