When I was in second grade, I raised my hand 🖐 when asked, “Who has a three-syllable name?”
“Meeeeeee!” I enthusiastically replied.
“What’s your name?” The teacher asked.
The teacher clapped once for “Char” and again for “Lene.”
“No, sorry that only two syllables.” The entire class snickered and laughed at me.
That was the first time I felt shame and humiliation for being wrong. I wanted to shrink in my chair and cry.
It seems like such a trivial moment, but it actually taught me to question to my own inner voice.
It was the beginning of me no longer raising my hand to answer questions unless I knew without a doubt I had the answer. Even if I did, I still wouldn’t raise my hand for fear I could be wrong.
That moment taught me to question what I believed was right. It created a story that staying quiet was much better than being humiliated if you get it wrong.
A few years later, in fourth grade, my teacher had given us a taste test: Coke vs Pepsi. All of the students seemed convinced which one was Coke vs Pepsi. And there I was again with a different opinion. But instead of trusting my gut, I went along with my other classmates and decided the second choice was Pepsi.
Guess who was right this time? Me.
Guess who went along with the crowd instead of speaking up? Me.
I was confirming a story that it’s better to go with the majority than stand out alone. Even if it’s right.
It has taken me years and years and let’s face it, many years to come, to work through all that social conditioning that kept me playing small, going along with the majority, and questioning what I believed is right.
Standing in our truth doesn’t always feel good in the moment and it takes an incredible amount of courage to stay on the path. But once you get a taste of living with integrity, of that sweet knowing, that freedom of no longer caring about others approval, you can’t stop raising you hand to the universe and saying, Meeeeeee!
Do whatever it takes to nourish that part of you that is begging you to stand in your own truth. It always know what’s best for you.