An open letter to the people who said ‘I can’t’

Melanie Todd, Staff writer

You did not take the time to hear why, how or even when. You simply did not care. You say things like “this career is not for people like you” or “what makes you think you will be happy doing that every day until you retire?” You made your judgment the second the words left my mouth and there was no changing it. Well, I’m here to say, “I don’t need to.”

I heard you and I am choosing not to listen. If I fail like you say I will, it will be because I wasn’t good enough not because I didn’t believe in myself enough to try.

Let me tell you this, I will not fail. I have the passion to succeed; now even more because I know I can prove you wrong. But, I want to reaffirm that the belief I have in myself is all I need.

At the end of the day I am all I have. My thoughts are my own and my decisions my sacred right. I will not surrender this right to you. Some decisions I am more proud of than others, but I choose to learn and grow from them. Each and every one I make shapes my life and character.

In reality, your comment doesn’t help either of us. Why choose to oppose me when you could try to understand me. It wastes both of our time and energy to fight, energy that could have been used more productively. Think of all the time we have wasted. Help me achieve my goals. Help me understand what goals I truly want to achieve. Don’t decide what goals I should pursue.

What I want is your help. Please play devil’s advocate and help me to make the best-informed decision possible. This does not mean make the decision for me. There may be factors in my decision that I weigh differently and that is okay. Just because I may not agree with you does not mean that I do not respect you or appreciate your insight any less. I hope that once I make my decision you can respect and support me however you can. I do not seek your approval. Please do not be a negative voice in my life trying to find holes in the way I chose to live it.

I do not need to prove anything to you. My happiness, self respect and self worth do not depend on you or your acceptance of my decisions, past or present. The only person who I need absolute approval from is myself.

But you can watch me succeed if you’d like.

So go ahead, tell me I can’t. I only have one thing to say to you, “Watch me.”