I was dumb – Labels #1

For a long time I told myself I was dumb. Throughout school I was always accused of having Attention Deficit Disorder. Which always landed me in the camp with the rebellious, the in trouble, the slow to understand, the easily distracted. All throughout high school I was a very good reader. I would spend hours a day in a dark room with candles just devouring book after book after book. I loved reading, i loved learning, i loved stories and information. and yet in school i was the ADD kid.

So after 6 years of constantly being told or accused of being dumb and unable to learn good, I had put myself in the box of ‘no further learning’. I ended school with a 57% UAI. I wasn’t interested in going on to university because it was completely out of my planned reach, so i got a job in a petrol station and played in bands and taught myself how to take photos well enough to start a business with a friend.

I continued reading and writing and talking through big concepts. I got super interested in economic theory and history and theology. But it wasn’t until one incredible day that I broke that label over me.

I met this woman a few days before and she had asked for a one on one conversation with all of our staff. So I walked in and awkwardly sat on this couch, and almost suddenly she said ‘You fear learning’. I almost yelled ‘What’, over the explosion that i heard in my heart. She had picked the deepest labeling on my soul and poked it. the blister that had grown large over the burn exploded. I was dumbfounded – pun intended. We went on to discuss how certain people learn and how the schooling system sets certain people up to hate themselves. She gave me some things to read and think about and then left my life.

I am not dumb. But i believed i was for years. And our labeling of ourselves is so powerful, that it can keep each other back from our destinies. From our best.

In another way, false labeling is like theft. I remember the first guitar I ever bought. It was a Yamaha pacifica. Wood finish. I loved that guitar. It wasn’t the greatest guitar in the shed, but, it was mine. I had written and learned a lot on that guitar, I held it precious in my eyes. And then the worst happened. One day i woke up to go get something out of my car and Dad asked “Did you leave all of your doors open on your car last night?” – confused, I walked out to my car to see all the doors and my boot wide open. No guitar in the car, and a big mess in the front. Theft.

I was numb. For days. In shock, not just at the loss, but the invasion. It almost physically hurt.

Some of us have had our intelligence, or personality, or futures taken away, stolen and put somewhere it’s not supposed to be like that.

In amongst God’s retraining of a people group in the desert he left them with this.

“You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another.”

Three statements that completely change a relationship. If i steal from you, i have disrespected you and devalued you so much that i take something that is yours, without asking. If i deal falsely with you, I have taken you out of reality to do with you how I want. With no real thought to your feelings or your reality. When we lie to each other, we destroy a relationship for our own gain.

What are some labels that you have been given that are not true, that you still believe?

Speak them out.

I am NOT dumb. I am smart. I am good at collecting information and asking good questions.

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