Last night my Mom called me and was ranting to me about my brother’s soccer game. His high school team beat their opposing team 15-1. They “creamed” them, “blew them out of the water” and so on. Simply put, they beat them fair and square.
Apparently, my brother’s team wound up being reprimanded and publicly shamed for their victory (they are 16 year old kids…). My brother even was ‘spoken to’ by the athletic director at his high school. I don’t know the details, but I do know this will have a significant, possibly severe, even detrimental effect on some of the kids on my brother’s soccer team.
Why do I say that?
Because I have been living proof that authority figures intertwined in our existing broken systems can severely and detrimentally alter the personalities, natural abilities, and future’s of influential children.
You Are Constantly Being Influenced: Is it Positive Influence?
This circumstance with my brother really brought to light something I have been wanting to express for a long time: We are all influenced, every day, all of the time, but we are especially influenced as kids with our extremely malleable minds that have no choice but to listen to adults and act according to their feedback in a controlled setting. I have seen how it has affected me, others, and I have discovered how we can undo the shitty projections from authority figures by becoming aware of where they have disengaged our power in the past so we can take it back in the present.
My mother always tells me a story of when I was two years old. We were staying in a hotel in Philadelphia. My mom turned her head for one second and when she turned back, I had already struck-up a conversation with the only guy in the room. He was an older businessman dressed in a nice suit clearly on his way to a business meeting. I approached him and started engaging in a conversation to which the man was surprised and delighted. This was Alexa in her nature; connecting with and blabbing her mouth to anyone, no matter how they looked, because she didn’t have any fears and she enjoyed it.
Growing up, I received the same comment at all of my parent-teacher conferences and on my report cards (and even from my gymnastics coaches): “Alexa is a great student, but talks too much in class.” Years and years of this feedback fucked with my head. It taught me that I had to learn how to shut my mouth, listen, and that connecting with my peers was a problem and something I would get in trouble for. When all along, it was a SKILL that should have been acknowledged and honed by my “teachers”.
Poor Influence Leads to Negative Consequences
In my early 20s, I wound up reaching a point where my anxiety around people was at an all-time high. I couldn’t open my mouth and say one word without worrying about repercussions of some sort. I couldn’t get any words out of my mouth because my mind would step in and shut me up before I could do so. It had a detrimental impact on my mental health. Not only that, but talking to people is one of the natural qualities that allows me to connect with people in business and life; to be able to breakdown any barriers with anyone of any age and just talk and connect with them.
Let’s be real here: Anyone that knows me knows what a big mouth I have 😉 Obviously I got a bit effed up by this stuff.
Back to my brother: I can guarantee that some of those kids who are being reprimanded for doing their soccer job well are going to be influenced significantly. Some may not play as hard going forward; whether consciously or unconsciously, because they are scared of getting reprimanded again. Some may develop a fear that if they are high performers, there is something ‘wrong’ with them for being ‘better’ or ‘more talented’ or whatever it may be. This fear can spill over into their school performance. Or it may come out in the workplace later in life where some festering fear of high performance on a work team may come back to bite them, even when it actually won’t. They may struggle with the disconnect between their true, driven, high-performing nature and the fear of reprimand by someone that is holding them back; lying dormant in their body and steering their actions.
Authority figures who do things like this have NO IDEA of the havoc they wreak on young and influential minds. Their words fester unconsciously, create trauma and fear, and then present themselves in a dysfunctional way either immediately or somewhere down the line. It happened to me and it happens all of the time.
How You Can Recover
Once I realized that I had been held back or negatively influenced by the corrections, reprimands, and influences of authority figures along the way in my life, I did my best to revisit or recall times when it happened. I tried to remember times when the way I acted, especially when it was natural and not at all ‘bad’, was corrected or told was ‘wrong’. Then I drew a parallel to my current fears and actions to understand how the two were intertwined.
Awareness fuels change. If you can become aware of how your true nature has been influenced along the way in your life, you can create the space to invite that true nature back in again and start being more of yourself. You can begin to tap-back into and utilizing the innate GIFTS that you have that you were once told were PROBLEMS to be fixed.
Then there’s the flipside; the message that is being sent to the team who was losing the soccer game. I was made aware that their coach stopped the game 20 minutes before the ending time. This teaches those kids that you give up when there’s still time left in the game rather than fully committing to the game as it is. It teaches them to look to their opposing team with hate in their heart and shame about themselves. They are being taught how to be entitled to the reward that comes from not performing. They are being bred for a socialism society when we live in America, the land of capitalism. It’s breeding a youth that gives up too soon, that cannot see things through to fruition, and a youth that looks to their counterparts with judgement and scarcity of what’s not theirs.
Learn To Admire and Celebrate Other’s Successes
Instead, they should be being taught how to admire others and to celebrate others wins, not to develop an attitude about someone else’s success. They could be being taught how to respect others for their level of success and to even look to them as a positive example rather than a threat. They should be taught how to remain humble in the face of defeat and challenge and to go out there and perform with your heart until the end no matter what is happening. It’s teaching more separation than togetherness. It’s teaching kids how to reject the outcome and ultimately themselves, rather than encouraging them to simply improve and do better next time.
In the game of real life, you don’t look at another business owner and say ‘hey, they’re making more money than me, they have more customers, they are doing better, so that means I should probably just call it quits since we’re not performing at the same level’. It 1000% sends the wrong message in every way and the kids will pay a huge price for being mislead by their elders.