What are your beliefs and experiences around report cards?
The reports many of us received in school; the ones you get at work from your boss; and those your family and friends use to assess who they believe you are, can have lasting impact.
We are judged, valued, and devalued throughout our lives. Does it impact our self-esteem, does it make us ever question who we are or what we can achieve in our lives? Yes, and yes, if we let these reports do so.
When I was a child, I had to make a massive educational shift, from a public school in Miami, Florida to a private, post-colonial British school in Uganda. On the one hand, a teacher said: “Her imaginative work is particularly good” and another indicated that my “Facility with numbers is lacking”. And where does a child’s attention land – on what they’re told they can’t do. Words can reverberate from childhood right through to adulthood. It took decades to gain confidence around my own unique potential. Why? Primarily because most of us focus on the negative, rather than the positive.
An employee can feel tremendous anxiety and discontent with her boss because of descriptive words she perceives as damaging. She can pour over her evaluation repeatedly to read what is uncomplimentary, even though she knows the chosen words do not accurately define who she is and what she can achieve.
Scientists tell us we have so many thousands of thoughts every day. We can identify what we don’t like, however, we aren’t taught how to overcome the mental and emotional consequences words can create. Too many of us consume and internalize the very perceptions that do not serve us.
Improving relationships with self and others begins with the mindset and strength of each person’s understanding and belief in one’s true self.
The next time you receive a report card, you be the judge. Ask yourself whether what is said is a true reflection of who you are. Seek out some trusted advice about what was said and how it impacted you. Find out how you go about letting go of what needs to be released. Additionally, take a proactive step to determine what you can do to further your need for constant improvement.
Each one of us can be and do better!