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Student Voice: Learning Empathy Through Personalized Education

10 Sep

Student Voice: Learning Empathy Through Personalized Education

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May 26, 2014 6:00:00 PM

When you look at a picture like this, what is your first thought? Pretty? Funny? Happy? Maybe some other nice adjective?

I can tell you one thing for sure. Those words never went through my head when I was younger. Whether looking at a picture of myself like the one above or just seeing myself in the mirror, the words that always traveled through my head were things like ugly, worthless, small, stupid and crazy.

People have always called me crazy. And in a sense, I guess they’re right. I’m a bit of a silly one. I remember last year when I was at a college campus for German Day, I walked around after my event and talked to literally everyone that passed me in a British accent, just to throw them off and be funny. I love meeting new people and I’m usually very hyper, which annoys people sometimes.

Sometimes I guess it annoys people too much. One day in third grade I was talking to a friend about something. I was talking really fast and I guess I was annoying him

. He all of a sudden lashed out at me and yelled. “Why can’t you just SHUT UP!? Get out of here! You’re ugly!” (I guess he wasn’t really a good friend…)

That was the first time that that had ever happened to me. I remember just standing there for a moment before I turned around and ran away, trying to hide the fact that I was about to cry. People had said some hurtful things before, but it never had really gotten to me up until then. Then, it hurt. It hurt really badly.

I’m adopted and I’ve had a rough past. If you know anything about Reactive Attachment Disorder (a condition found in kids who have received grossly negligent care and do not form a healthy emotional attachment, usually with their mothers, before the age of 5) knowing that I had it when I was younger can probably tell you a lot about what was going on for me. Because my birth parents abandoned me, I already had a feeling that I wasn’t wanted. What that boy had said to me sort of drove that awful nail home. He wanted me to shut up. He wanted me gone. And I believed it.

I believed it so much that I fell into this big horrible spiral. I was flirtatious. I got in with the wrong crowd. I did some awful things. And all just because I believed one little lie in my head that said that no one wanted me. That I didn’t matter.

And you know what the problem was? It wasn’t that people never said nice things to me, because people did. The problem was that I never listened. I kept believing the lie. I couldn’t forget what people had said.

When you bully people… they never forget.

You are a beautiful human being. Nothing that anyone can say will change that. You might think what they say is true, but you know what you do then? You go to your Mom, Dad, Best friend, Boyfriend/Girlfriend, God or whoever you know loves you dearly and tell them what the person said. And you know what they’re going to say? That it isn’t true. And you know what you do next? Next time that person comes to you and says something, you tell them that they are wrong. And then you compliment them on something. ‘Cus you know what? That person is only being mean to you because nobody has ever told them that the things that other people said about them wasn’t true.

They’re hurting. And you can help change that.

I mean… How great would the world be if everyone ran around handing out compliments to people instead of put downs? That’d be pretty great.

And one of the best parts about going to school at CMASAS is the fact that I haven’t been put down once since I started going there. In public school, I couldn’t go a day without someone calling me something. So thanks for the wonderfully refreshing environment.

You have the power to change the world. Now go and do it. One compliment at a time.