It’s always nice when receiving a compliment from a friend or relative; however, for so many years, I’ve always shrugged them off. Too me, the importance wasn’t what I did or accomplished, but the fact it was done in the first place. I was raised by my parents to believe just because I accomplished something, received honors or an award, didn’t mean it should be praised for something I was supposed to be doing in the first place.
I was the only one to finish high school with a perfect score in psychology; yet, I never felt compelled to brag about it. I never thought I deserved any praise. My fellow classmates congratulated me for my achievement, but I blew it off like it was nothing, because it’s automatically expected I should achieve excellence in education.
I felt unworthy of praise, because of the mindset my parents instilled into me from the time I was a small child.
When I was in the second grade, I received a scholarship to take summer courses geared toward advanced students. My father said it was no big deal.
One of the courses I took at the time was an art class. Because my class made the best pieces of art not only in the entire school, but in the entire Kalamazoo area for elementary school education, the folks from the Kalamazoo Gazette made arrangements to come to the school to interview my class, and take pictures of us to be featured on the front page of the local newspaper.
When my mother told my father about it, once again, he said, “So what. It’s no big deal. It’s art. Who cares.” Therefore, the “no big deal” notion stuck with me into my adult life.
Upon graduating from high school, I was congratulated by my brother John for my accomplishment. I could only respond by saying, “That’s okay. It’s not that big of a deal. All I did was get my high school diploma. It’s something anyone can do. It’s not like I discovered a cure for a disease or anything. It’s just a piece of paper saying I completed the assigned course work required of me to graduate from high school. It’s something expected of every individual who expects to land any kind of job in this country, that’s all.”
Even when I graduated college, I shrugged it off, because I saw it as “no big deal”. I fought against my aunt and grandmother giving me a graduation party, because I felt undeserving of one. However, they gave me one in spite of my disapproval. I didn’t even want to go to my graduation ceremony, because it meant nothing to me.
When I got my first book published, everyone including my counselor was more excited about it than I was. Not only was my counselor excited, but she requested I bring her some information about the book, because of her interest in purchasing one. Not only did she purchase it, but the other counselors and staff who worked with her also purchased copies of my book. She said it is a helpful tool in her field for helping victims of child abuse, and depression. I was also told about how in all her years of schooling, she couldn’t learn things in a textbook she was able to learn from my book about child abuse. The woman liked how in my writing process, I not only established an emotional connection with my readers, but I enabled them to live through the experience for a brief moment in time throughout their journey of reading the book, which gave a much clearer perspective and better understanding about child abuse and depression. Again, I shrugged it off, by saying, “I’m glad I could help in some way.”
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015