How Refusing To “Bench Myself” Helped Me Grow

Growing up, I ran into a disheartening notion quite frequently. A lot of peers throughout my years as a teen often made comments in a joking manner such as, “I’m not smart enough to do algebra,” or “I’m too dumb to comprehend long books”. In my opinion, this occurred in such great volume for one or a combination of the following three reasons.

1.      It was a ploy to make important figures such as parents and teachers more accepting of a lack of personal effort.

2.      It was a sort of coping mechanism to make the thought of ineptitude excusable or fear of failure less threatening.

3.      Making backhanded, self-degrading comments was honestly something they thought was funny and/or was something they did out of ambition to receive attention and an ego boost—“What are you talking about? You aren’t stupid.”

When you are impressionable and surrounded by people who make fun of themselves in the form of unnecessary and demeaning comments, you begin to believe it is okay. As in my case, after hearing others in my age group do this, I copied them. Ultimately, I ended up hurting my own self-esteem. When you limit yourself through negativity and closemindedness, you never know the true expanse of your capabilities.

During the time I acted this way, I didn’t perform as well in school and extracurricular activities simply because I convinced myself I was incapable of doing any better. The mentality of being average and it being acceptable is lethal. Eventually, after I came to my senses and realized the reason I felt sh*tty all the time was because of me, I stopped saying self-degrading comments, quit hanging out with people who followed this trend, and began to embrace my potential to be successful. By not prematurely “benching myself”, I have been able to achieve a lot more than I believed possible.

The Take Away

Know your self-worth. Don’t set limits for yourself. Reach for the stars and see how many you can grab. Climb the ladder and see how far you can go before you reach a missing rung. Never trick yourself into glorifying a lack of caring about important things. And, do not doubt yourself. Other people will doubt you, hurt you, and hope with all enthusiasm attainable to see you faceplant into a sidewalk. It is your job to walk on the other side of the street. Set a positive example and be yourself. If you fail, you fail. But, at least you know you tried. Don’t be the person who is too cool to fail. By the time those people realize what they might have let go of by refusing to try something out of fear of failure, it could be too late.

In the words of one of my favorite quotes, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game! [—Babe Ruth]”

Thank you for reading. Have a beautiful day!

Keep it sassy,


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