“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.” – Stacey Charter
The following is the exact speech of Nathan Park, who was the brilliant student speaker at my son’s graduation ceremony. I asked and am honored he agreed to share it here with you. Read his words carefully and remember that this is the wise musings of a young man with a solid path ahead and the confidence to achieve his every dream. ~Alan Eisenberg
“I’m Nathan Park, and I am so honored to be speaking before you. The theme of my speech is but a simple three words from the acclaimed show, “Parks and Rec.” The theme of my speech is…Treat. Yo. Self.
How often do we spend time gossiping and hating rather than loving one another?
Perhaps you even hate yourself. You may say the words “you are not good enough” too often to the person you see in the mirror. Not pretty enough. Not smart enough. Well, enough’s enough. I think it’s about time you treat. Yo. Self.
You may be wondering, what should I “treat myself” to? Do you remember that great episode in Parks and Rec where Donna and Tom were celebrating Treat Yo Self day? Donna said, you could treat yourself to “clothes, fragrances, massages, Mimosas or fine leather goods.”
I believe you need to treat yourself every day.
What I mean when I say you ought to “treat” yourself is you ought to love yourself. I have three encouragements that may help you to “treat yourself” more every day. When I say “treat yourself,” I really mean “love yourself.”
My first encouragement to you is, wake up in the morning and believe that it will be a great day where good things will happen, rather than thinking it’s another day to drag through. I know we’ve all thought this at least “once” throughout high school.
It is easy to anticipate the worst. Thus, be excited about your day. Believe that people will like you for who you are. And if people don’t, then I pity them because they’re missing out on the great person you are.
For example: Say you’re walking into a job interview. You may be tempted to think, “What if I don’t remember what I rehearsed? What if they don’t like me? What if my stomach starts making weird noises?”
At this rate, you’re going to have a really bad interview. If you’re going to make it up, make it up good! “I’m going to nail the questions, the interviewer will like my assets, and I’ll get the job.”
So remember the first encouragement. Believe that good things will come your way, and expect that people will like you. This is a surefire way to TREAT yourself.
My second encouragement to you is to always remember that there is a logical explanation for everyone’s behavior.
Sure, you can’t hide the fact that someone may be acting mean or rude, but don’t forget that you cannot see what’s going on in their mind and heart.
That bully at school who always made fun of your height? Your looks? Your grades? It was unkind, but… Maybe he was broken inside. Maybe he was discouraged in a similar way at home.
If you’re tempted to get worked up over something that someone did that you know won’t matter tomorrow, then move on. Instead, think three positive, logical explanations as to why someone may be acting the way they are. This can calm you down and save you from unnecessary stress. This is also a great way to TREAT yourself.
My third and final encouragement to you is to have humility and remember how blessed you are. Friends, it is crazy that we are here today. Let us not forget the sacrifices our parents, teachers, and counselors have made to help us be here today. Whether it be through packing our lunches (shout out to you, mom), through writing an input form, or donating their time to be with us after school, we could not have done this without them. Instead of focusing on all the things you lack, count your blessings, for there are many who would love to be in your shoes. This is the final way you can TREAT yourself.
You might be thinking, “why is all the focus on treating MYSELF? Shouldn’t I be concerned about treating others?”
As much as treating yourself sounds selfish, the truth is, we must treat ourselves first before we are able to “treat” others. There is no point in trying to encourage someone when we are angry with ourselves or stressing out.
We cannot pour from an empty cup. We have to fill ourselves up, first. When we treat ourselves and have an optimistic outlook on life, that’s when we are able to have a positive influence on others that is larger than we know.
Thus, consider this; believe that it is going to be a good day, and that people will like you for who you are. Consider three logical explanations for the way someone may behave. And remember graduates, there are many, I repeat, MANY who would love to be in your shoes. And in doing all this, you can truly… Treat. Yo. Self. Allowing YOU to treat others.”