Time seemed to stand still for that one moment in time. My words seemed to echo down Ridge Avenue rattling the birds perched on the telephone wires causing them to fly away and startling little old ladies walking down the street. All eyes were on me. The woman I was arguing with just stood there with wide eyes as though she couldn’t believe what I just called her.
Once my anger subsided, I apologized to those who heard me and repented to God. I couldn’t believe I let this woman bring me out of my element like that. As I sat there thinking about how badly I handled the situation, a wise saying came to mind and haunted me. “Don’t argue with a fool because people passing by won’t know who’s the fool.” This woman clearly disrespected and violated me first, but I stooped to her level. All of my class and dignity went out the window.
All day long, I thought about my actions and kept asking God to forgive me. I felt that bad. I really wished I could’ve handled things better. The next morning, I was watching a Sunday morning political call-in show and a congressman from Maryland said something that struck me. I felt as if God was speaking to me through this gentleman. In response to a caller who referred to the congressman as a Negro instead of African-American, the congressman said, “It’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”
I thought about that statement for a while and applied it to my own situation. It was true. It shouldn’t have mattered what that woman called me because none of what she said was true. I’m not a female dog and I’m not ignorant. I just shook my head and hung it in disappointment. I couldn’t believe I let myself act a fool like that.
But like everything else, I learn from it and share the lesson. From this experience I learned that it’s not important what people call or say about you. What’s important is what you answer to and believe about yourself. I often hear people call women the “b” word and hear them reply, “But I’m a good one.” The truth of the matter is you’re not the “b” word, not even on your worst day. Maybe people don’t call you four letter words, they talk down to you instead. They call you dumb, stupid, or lazy. In this case, the same rules apply. It’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to and believe about yourself.
I recently met a woman who told me that her mother made her feel dumb for many years. Her mother didn’t call her dumb. Instead she always referred to her as her pretty daughter and her sister as her smart daughter—as if a woman can’t be both pretty and smart. Beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive. A woman can be both pretty and intelligent. However, the pretty daughter thought she was dumb and the smart one thought she was ugly. For years, both sisters struggled to the point that the pretty sister didn’t think she was smart enough to go college and the smart sister didn’t think she was attractive. She suffered from low self esteem. This case is an example of how we can limit ourselves based upon what people think of us. I am happy to say that today both sisters have defined their own identities and both of them feel smart and pretty. The “pretty” sister eventually got her degree and became a nurse. The “smart” sister has a healthy self image and beams with confidence.
Don’t let the names or things people say about you define you. It’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to and believe about yourself that matters.
P.S.- Remember everything has beauty including YOU. IT just takes a true D.I.V.A to see it!
© 2010, Shalena D.I.V.A.- Author| Speaker| Life And Business Coach. All rights reserved.