During one of our long bus rides on choir tour we watched the movie “The Help.” I hadn’t seen it before, and unfortunately halfway through the movie I fell asleep. It was not because the movie was boring, but because the bus ride was about 7 hours long. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed, as one of my goals is always to see the movies up for an Academy Award for Best Picture. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. It’s a gripping historical drama, with numerous underlying messages intertwined amidst its 1960s backdrop.

While not directly related to the overall plot of the movie, there is a really powerful underlying message presented several times in the course of the movie. In a small scene, Viola Davis’ character is seen reciting, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important” to the little girl she cares for. The girl smiles, and struggles to say the words back. The little girl’s mother doesn’t care for her, and to be honest probably doesn’t love her. To help her overcome her distant and cold mother, Davis’ character strives to help the child see something good about herself everyday. Each scene is truly touching and heartwarming, and although it’s not a pivotal aspect of the movie it made me smile each time I saw it.

This heartwarming message really worked to remind me of the importance of self-affirmation and validation in our lives. While one could easily argue that we’re living in a society that now finds that everyone’s a winner, during my time at Concordia I’ve learned very quickly that in reality this way of thinking doesn’t go very far. Often with the stress of the day, it can seem nearly impossible to find something positive to look back on. Like many of you I’m my own worst critic, and as Commander Spock says in Star Trek II, “it has always been easier to destroy than it is to create.” Looking at myself in the mirror of my mind, I can easily rattle off dozens of faults in a matter of seconds. After a long day the real struggle is to find just a couple of positive things for my list.

I’m not saying that we need to create unrealistic expectations for ourselves, but I think that we need to remember to give ourselves credit where credit’s due. Sure I will never be a rocket scientist, the best singer, or most interesting person at any given time, but I should remember when it’s ok to cut myself a break. Agonizing over my imperfections won’t get me anywhere. Instead I should strive embrace who I am and where my talents are.  There’s nothing wrong in giving ourselves those moments to reflect. They can help us to live our lives to their fullest.

That’s my challenge for you this week. Try and find a time where you can help celebrate your successes and find new ways to challenge yourself to live to your fullest potential. Should you notice someone else excelling at something, be sure and let them know.

James Vair

A senior majoring in Political Science and Communication, James hails from Omaha, Nebraska. He focuses primarily on the unique things that define our everyday lives.

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