80: Lessons in Insecurity

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Amazing Mom

Lessons in Insecurity

Whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free . . . your true self comes out.

~Tina Turner

Mrs. D was one of those teachers who loved her job. Though I wasn’t one of her students, she still invited me into her office during lunch to chat about life and what was going on in my fifteen-year-old mind.

She was a few inches shorter than I was, with long hair and glasses, and always had a smile on her face. Every student who crossed her path could agree that Mrs. D’s gentle spirit and gift of encouragement could make even the most troubled of students believe in themselves.

I remember walking to her office one day for one of our regular lunchtime chats, rehearsing the day’s topic in my head. That week had been particularly challenging because I was bogged down with honors coursework and midterms. On top of that, I had just found out the person I thought was my best friend blabbed my deepest secrets around school. It took all I had not to break down as I gently tapped on Mrs. D’s office door.

Knock knock! “It’s me, Jocelyn. Can I come in?”

Mrs. D motioned for me to step into her office just as she was finishing up a call.

“Hey, sweetie! How was your day today?”

“It’s going okay, I guess. I did want to talk to you about something, though.”

I pulled up a chair and plopped my book bag down on the floor beside me. As I began telling Mrs. D about my woes, tears welled up in the corners of my eyes. I told her that on top of everything going on at school, my best friend was actually not my friend at all, and I felt that I couldn’t trust anyone.

“I understand that was your friend, and you thought she was treating you with the same kindness you were showing her,” she told me, “but don’t let that make you bitter. You shouldn’t let what your friend has done stop you from giving love and being the sweet young lady that you are. The fact that she’s mistreated you means she has unresolved issues within herself. This has nothing to do with you. Never let the insecurities of others determine who you are.”

Just like that, my life was changed. Never let the insecurities of others determine who you are.

In that moment, Mrs. D stepped beyond her role as a teacher and gave me advice that I still carry with me today! As I went off to college and entered adulthood, I realized how true these words were. If I had allowed the cruelty of one person to change my entire disposition, I wouldn’t have become the woman I am today. My life is full of joy. I’m surrounded by love and great people!

Every chance I get, I stop by to pay Mrs. D a visit and ask her, “Do you remember that time you talked to me about the insecurities of others?”

My life is so blessed, not only because of who Mrs. D was to me that day in her office, but because of who she’s always been to me my entire life—my mom.

~Jocelyn Drawhorn

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