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A new attitude

Today, I officially embark on a new journey. I start a psychology course with an “I can do it” attitude and a determination to succeed no matter what it takes. Things are falling in place for the summer and looking ahead, things are working out for the fall. How great is our God who can do infinitely more than I can ask or imagine! I am eating up the material – making connections with things that I have previously read or things that I have learned throughout the years of therapy. Studying (at least for the moment) is not a chore, but something exciting and fun even.

All the negative voices that used to be in my head are being challenged. I remember a saying that I grew up with that has really negatively impacted my confidence in learning and my abilities: “it is better to be silent and let people think that you are stupid, than to open your mouth and prove it”. I used to sit in small group Bible study, rehearsing over and over what I was going to say, only for the moment in which what I wanted to say was relevant to pass. I remember calling up friends and having cue cards of topics that I could talk about and things to ask them so that the conversations would go well. I didn’t dare raise my hand in class because how was it possible that I of all people would have something important to say or an intelligent question. In my trauma program we looked at negative beliefs that have impacted us, and the idea that I am fundamentally stupid has stuck with me.

But then things have challenged that belief over the past couple of years. I remember writing something in therapy and this well-educated, well-published psychiatrist told me that I “write with style.” I’ve been able to consistently get good marks on papers to the point that I could no longer say it was a fluke. my involvement in my community has been a huge blessing and huge source of encouragement for me as I have tested the waters in public speaking and various forms of leadership activities. My own psychiatrist has always said I have a good brain and great potential. But it has been through the constant and loving feedback from people who I admire, people who have read my writings and people who have engaged in discussion with me that I am finally able to see that I DO have gifts and I AM smart.

I wrote on the first page of my psychology notebook: I want to succeed. I can succeed. I will succeed. I have been finding that this new perspective has been enabling me to eat up the textbook that I have to read and is giving me the confidence to embark on this new journey. Interestingly enough, this textbook talks about the notion of ‘priming’ and how those who are primed to do well in life generally succeed – those who are confident in their own academic abilities study better, learn better and do better.

And so, I embark on this new journey with joy and peace and a newfound knowledge of who I am in Christ and that with Christ, nothing is impossible. I am employing strategies that I have been taught in previous courses or have learned from other people so that I can get the very most out of this learning experience. But most of all, I say with confidence that I want to do this, I can do this and in the coming days, I hope this new attitude, accompanied by hard work and persistence, will translate into me actually succeeding in this course and beyond.

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