“Son, this world is rough. And if a man’s gonna make it he’s gotta be tough. And I knew I wouldn’t be there to help ya’ along. So I gave you that name and said goodbye and I knew you’d have to get tough or die and now it’s that name that’s helped to make you strong.” -Johnny Cash. These are lyrics from a song called “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash. Most people read this song as a silly little ditty with a heartfelt message, but I’ve found that it can also be found as a lesson. A lesson on how to conquer your own problems and insecurities.
Everybody has their own problems, and I will admit that compared to some people, my problems are miniscule. Sometimes it feels like the perspective of looking down at a theme park from the top of the ferris wheel, and my problems are the itty bitty porta-potties behind the tilt-a-whirl. While the roller coasters of problems are world peace, and world hunger, terminal illnesses’, and crime. But I still have my own problems, I still have weaknesses and insecurity.
I asked my parents what they think some of my greatest weakness is, and they both said the same thing. They said I was a people pleaser, and that doesn’t sound like too bad of a thing. However, in some cases I get so wrapped up in making sure that people like and accept me for who I am, that I forget who I want to be. My morals seem to blur out of focus. But again, in my Johnny Cash metaphor, Sue grew up quick. And he realized he needed to accept who he is and who he wants to be. That’s what I’ve learned to do. But it wasn't always like that.
Whenever somebody asks me for something, I always find the word ¨no¨ to be hard to say. Imagine we’re in a classroom in the 5th grade. Mr. Barton’s at the chalkboard writing down a homework assignment and everybody pairs up and works to finish before class ends. Except for me, I always found that I finished quicker on my own. I finish, open my book, and then someone (let’s call them Aaron) comes over and asks for the answer to problem fourteen. I begin to explain how to solve the problem when Aaron interrupts and says, “yeah, but what’s the answer…?” He’s done no work on the problem and he expects me to give him the answer?! I can’t do that! He’ll never learn if he doesn’t try. And yet, I can’t say no. I begin to wonder, “will he dislike me if I don’t give him the answer, how can I turn him away without being rude, why do people always ask me?!?” As my mental battle rages, billions of “what if’s” zip through my head in an instant. And eventually my insecurity wins and I give him the answer.
Like I mentioned earlier, everybody has an uphill battle. Everyone has their own problem. So how do you deal with them? The easiest thing to do is to run from them, but running forever is near impossible. That’s why the Johnny Cash song has such a powerful message for me. Learning to live with your own quirks is half the battle. However once you learn to live with them, the quality of your life’s journey greatly improves.