I never thought about the after story for the little boy who cried wolf until recently. You remember the old childhood story where the little boy kept lying to the townspeople that the wolf was coming. As a result of his lies when the wolf actually approached the village no one came out to save the little boy. He was eaten.
I wonder what would have happened if he was never eaten and decided to turn over a new leaf. Would anyone believe that he was turning over a new leaf? Would they just assume that when he opened his mouth that a lie would just fall out?
The problem is that when we repeatedly disappoint someone their ability to believe in your change is hard. A lot of my clients experience this problem in recovery and they say that it has made them want to go back and use drugs again. Some of them believe that if someone is going to believe the worst about them then they should just go back to that life. Then there are those who believe they should “prove them wrong.”
The problem in both of those situations is that they both are dependent on someone else rather than themselves. My son got upset with a teacher who didn’t believe he had turned over a new leaf in turning in his work on time. He had the same thought as my clients. He said, “…so I’ll just prove him wrong.”
My heart sunk and I became emotional because I immediately thought of my clients. I could imagine the defeat…no I felt the familiar defeat. I’ve said those words before. Then God allowed me to share with my son how it is fruitless to prove someone wrong. This is a lesson that I just learned this year after hearing from a high school counselor that I would not make it in college. I stayed and struggled through on my toughest days to prove her wrong.
I tried to help my son to understand that proving someone wrong is not a goal that he should try to reach. That person may not even be present when you reach that goal and probably could care less. I encouraged him to prove himself right. It is far more rewarding to work hard because it’s important to you than it is to do it for someone else.
No one can take away your personal victory and cannot hold it over your head. If you fail it’s not because they were right. It is because you made a mistake. If you succeed it’s not because you wanted to smash your greatness in their face. It’s because you did what was necessary to achieve your goal. Don’t prove them wrong. Prove yourself right.
Just another day’s Journey of learning to prove myself right. Peace.