Dale Carnegie once received a letter from Mrs. Edith Allred, of Mount Airy, North Carolina. “As a child,” she said, “I was extremely sensitive and shy. I was always overweight and my cheeks made me look even fatter than I was. I had an old-fashioned mother who thought it was foolish to make clothes look pretty. She always said: ‘Wide will wear while narrow will tear;’ and she dressed me accordingly.
“I never went to parties; never had an fun; and when I went to school, I never joined the other children in outside activities, not even athletics. I was morbidly shy. I felt I was ‘different’ from everybody else, and entirely undesirable.”
Mrs. Allred grew up and married a man who was several years her senior. He in-laws were a poised and self-confident family, and although she tried to be like them, she didn’t change. Every attempt the family made to draw her out of her shell only drove her in deeper. He despondence got to the point where she actually considered ending her life.
But a chance remark one day changed everything. Her mother-in-law, in speaking of how she raised her children, said, “No matter what happened, I always insisted on their being themselves.”
The remark stayed with Edith Allred, and in a flash she realized she had brought all this misery on herself by trying to fit herself into a pattern to which she didn’t conform. From that point forward she started being herself, studying her personality and strong points, and learned enough about styles to dress in a way that she was becoming to her. She joined organizations and made friends, and little by little, gained courage.
She passed on the lesson to her own children—a lesson she had learned from bitter experience—that no matter what happens, always be yourself!
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @micarnegie.
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/imagerymajestic