Reason to SMILE #60: BELIEVING IN YOURSELF
“I can’t!” I declared.
I was in Junior High and basketball was on the agenda for P.E. My teacher knew I would not be able to run up and down the court but she wanted me to participate in some way. She encouraged me to at least practice shooting the basketball. Well, I had tried before and couldn’t do it. What was the use in trying again? I was only going to be humiliated by my failure. I begged to be excused from the activity. I cried and repeated over and over, “I can’t do it. I just can’t!”
Unfortunately, my teacher was good friends with my parents who had instructed her not to give in to my “sob story” tactics. Of course, my parents knew full well my physical limitations due to my muscle disorder but they never let me use it as an excuse. I always had to try something first so a “Get Out of P.E. Free” card was never a possibility. Aren’t parents awesome? (They really are! I just didn’t think so at the time.)
I was doomed to shooting basketball. My teacher was lovingly relentless in her encouragement to keep trying. “Never say you can’t,” she’d say, “because you can do it.” I tried. I failed. I tried again. I failed. I tried again and again and again each time failing miserably. Soon, however, I discovered that my efforts were paying off. The ball was going a little higher, a little further out and closer to the basket each time I made a shot. My classmates began to join the teacher in her encouragement. Never once did they laugh because I could not make the basket. I kept trying. Then one day, I shot the basketball and boom! I did it. I actually made it. My classmates cheered. My teacher hugged me and I learned to say, “I can.”
I’ll never forget the day when I made my first basket. It was thrilling. I actually did it but I wouldn’t have if it had not been for the encouragement of my parents, my teacher and my classmates. It was their belief in me that led to my own belief in myself. I won’t sit here and tell you that I have never said the words “I can’t” again but that personal triumph has made a lasting impact on how I approach challenges in my life.
You see, there are always going to be people who tell me that I can’t do something. There will be those who look at my appearance, who know my physical limitations, who know the mistakes I’ve made and all of my shortcomings and they will shake their heads and say, “There’s just no way.” If I join the naysayers, or allow their opinions of me to become my own, I’m defeated before I even get a chance to try. I am guaranteeing my own failure because I can never succeed if I never try. I must believe in myself. Even more, I must believe in the One who made me who I am and who faithfully whispers in my ear, “Yes, my child, you can.”
So, how do I keep believing in myself when others insist on discouraging me? It’s simple. When others look at me and say, “You can’t,” I remember my first successful basketball shot, look those naysayers straight in the eyes, SMILE and proudly say, “You just watch me!”