“Everyone has a story to tell. Around every corner there is a great story waiting to be discovered, lived and retold, and people love to hear them. ” Jeff Goins
A while ago on my way from work, whilst waiting for a train at the station, I noticed a man looking at some really beautiful pieces of art. We got talking and his name was Felix. The pieces of art were his creations. Felix was going into central London to exhibit his artwork on a pavement. He was hoping for passers-by and tourists to allow him to paint their portraits and buy his artwork, but his heart was not in it. He clearly had a passion for art but looked sad. I became intrigued and asked him his story.
Felix had originally come to London from abroad to attend a highly acclaimed History of Fine Art course at university to pursue his dream of becoming a Fine Art Teacher. Upon arriving to the UK, Felix initially found the transition refreshing and positively challenging. But there was a problem. A Lecturer at university was giving Felix a hard time and purposely mocked his foreign accent and mannerisms, claiming he had no right to study Fine Art at a prestigious university. The torment and humiliation from this Lecturer went on for over a year, but Felix continued to get good grades from other Lecturers and do exceptionally well whilst keeping his head down trying to ignore it.
However, things began to get worse and Felix felt like a target. During an intense period of assignment deadlines, exams and his busy night job, the pressure and continuous torment got to Felix and one day he snapped and punched the Lecturer. Felix was kicked out of the university and ended up with a criminal record. As I listened to Felix, I could feel his pain because his dreams had been dashed by his mistake. With so much talent, he was now living a life of regret.
As I reflect, it got me thinking about life lessons and what I try to teach my young pupils, based on my experiences during tricky times:
1) Ask for help.
A problem shared is a problem halved. By asking for help or approaching someone to talk about a troubling situation at the time, it can help end things with a peaceful resolution. Either way, by talking to a friend or someone impartial, it can lighten an emotional load and free a person from a trail of negative thoughts and anxiety.
2) Don’t stoop to their level.
Keep your cool, be civil and think of the bigger picture. Wayne Dyer once said “how people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” This does not give people permission to walk all over another person or treat them like a door mat. By not stooping to their level, a person holds on to their dignity, to gracefully stand up and calmly turn the other cheek. Is it more important to be right, there and then, or happily fulfilled for the rest of your life?
3) Have Courage.
Dig deep and find that peaceful inner warrior. By being brave and doing the best to keep that chin up, a person can find the strength and confidence to blast through the blocks to focus on achieving what they originally set their mind upon.
4) Believe in your worth.
What makes a person come alive? What’s their passion? Isn’t it time to believe in every fibre that you deserve to live your truth by pursuing your unique talents? By living a life with a sense purpose, self-worth and integrity, it can change things, attract positivity and motivation to succeed.
5) Walk away.
There’s no shame in throwing in the towel and walking away. Remember, there are other jobs, schools, universities, friendships, and so forth, so if you have exhausted all the options, a person does not need to hang around to be treated badly. Lao Tzu once said: “by letting go, you get everything. The real winner is the one who lets go.” So do what you need to do, tie up any loose ends, then walk away with your head held high and start afresh.
I never saw Felix again, but learnt a great deal from his story. With any luck, he’s found peace in his situation, uncovered some valuable life lessons and mustered the inner strength to paint a new canvas for his life.
Miss H ♥