by K. Ward
An inspirational piece about rising above critics and becoming a true star.
|When I was a child, I had very low self-esteem. I thought I was ugly, stupid, and gross. Well, these were also the messages given to me by various bully classmates. But one story the teacher read to us was, “The Ugly Duckling.” It is a children’s story written by Hans Christian Anderson.
In it, the writer describes a duckling who is teased by the other ducklings for being ugly. However, by the end of the story, we find out that the duckling is actually a swan!
That story made an impression on me. I was a swan for Halloween one year. I used to collect a glass menagerie, and I had a glass swan. I had dreams of performing, “Swan Lake,” the ballet. I studied classical ballet. I was very serious and diligent about it. My classmates were perhaps not as serious about it, chatting with each other during class, and meanwhile, I did not have any friends. I was paying attention to the teacher.
One day, the teacher at the little ballet studio took my mother aside and told her I had, “the grace, but not the strength.” She told her my attendance was not good enough, and they would not advance me to the next level. I was devastated. I had forgotten to tape my toes and could not dance because of my blisters. It hurt.
So then, my dreams of becoming a star ballerina were dashed. But I rose above. I held my head high. I did not let the cruel comments and laughter from my classmates get me down. Despite my past low self-esteem, I knew that I was worth something, that I was someone special.
So years went by, and I pursued my other creative talents. I was a good artist and writer. I published many manuscripts and a book of my art. This won me a little bit of fame.
But what won me the most fame was my refusal to accept criticism. I would not listen to critical comments about my creativity. I would not let them control my emotions and how much I believed in myself. I was determined to stand out of the crowd and rise to the very top, despite all of the mockery and mean comments throughout my entire life.
You see, I always knew I was a celebrity. In fact, I was a very bright star. What does this teach us? I was teased in a little elementary school classroom. I was let go from a ballet studio, not a competitive school. I was criticized by complete strangers who had read my books and disliked them. They were not even critics. Besides, I would not let a negative review make me devastated. We need to look at the big picture. Imagine if you were a world leader, and when you spoke, you were addressing the world. That’s quite a different perspective, don’t you think? And when you look at the world, and how some of them are supportive, and some of them are not, a true leader would just ignore the ones who are enemies. The only thing that matters is the integrity you know you have. A leader is the one who takes it upon himself or herself to make a change for the better. I have already made a change for the better. My effort and my compassion for others make more ripples in the water. Rise above. Admire yourselves for your strength and your inner beauty. Ignore the little people, because in the end they don’t matter. You matter.