Dr. Singerman told me at age 20 that I was a failure. A tenured French professor, he laughed in my face when I declared that I wanted to be a French major, and he told me that I would never succeed. I can still recall the day I ran back to my room in tears after our conversation, after he told me that I had no future in French and recommended that I find another interest.
Three years and three trips to France later, Dr. Singerman pulled me aside after my 2-hour French thesis defense /presentation. I had just spent my entire Senior year researching, writing, and re-writing my 75 page French thesis; defending it in front of every French professor, more specifically, in front of Dr. Singerman was my greatest fear. Post-presentation, Dr. Singerman curtly touched my shoulder, winced a moment, and then told me that he had never seen someone exhibit so much passion, determination, and drive to succeed. He offered to write me letters of recommendation whenever I needed it and he applauded me for staying true to myself and my passions despite his discouraging proddings. He thanked me for ignoring his words and for proving him wrong.
We have all had Dr. Singermans in our lives. Some of us have learend to reject the self-doubts and fears that they instilled in us, and others have allowed these strangers’ words to dictate the rest of our lives. Fear and self-doubt will never disappear from life; the key to success is knowing that self-doubt will always be present and therefore is not there to disuade us but rather, to make us stronger. As you think back about your own Dr. Singermans think also about the rippling impact that they positively left on your life.
I wouldn’t be who I am without Dr. Singerman. That man brought me to tears more than anyone else in the world ever has. The beauty in those tears is that in them, I found myself. I had to question why Dr. Singerman’s words stung me so deeply and why I cared so much, and in that reflection, I discovered my love-affair with France. In my pain I discovered my passion. Those tears forged the pathway to my future. Without Dr. Singerman’s influence, I would have never be so determined to make it to France for the first time. If I had never gone to France, I would have never been freed of an eating disorder (and I would have never began my career in fitness or body image). Without France I would have never seen what body-confidence, self-acceptance, and joie de vivre looks like, I would have never written my book, I would never be traveling to France to do my first Ironman in June, and I would have never created Beautiful Body Bistro.
Life, especially the moments or years of it that we spend in self-doubt, is beautiful. You just have to learn to look at it the right way.