Ms. Lapenna’s Quote

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Elanor Roosevelt

The story behind this quote’s sentiment has to do with her husband’s Secretary of Labor. While the quote was not said at the time, the sentiment carried over to when she said it to Reader’s Digest.

The Secretary was invited to give a speech at UC Berkley but the event’s traditional host decided not to host that year due to the Secretary’s speaking. Journalists recognized this as an insult but at a White House press conference she said, “a snub is the effort of a person who feels superior to make someone else fell inferior. To do so, he has to find someone who can be made to feel inferior.”

Ms. Lapenna found this quote in a book of quotes she used to pick from to put on the board before class. As she said, “we live in a world where it’s real easy to feel badly about who we are.” And while other people may say things to bring us down, “it doesn’t matter what other people think, it matters what we think.”

Teaching is one industry where self esteem is important as students can sometimes be rude. She said that very early on in your teaching career, after all the hard work to become a teacher, kids didn’t pay attention and weren’t engaged. She said, “when someone doesn’t pay attention to you, it sends the message, you’re not important.” However, she learned not to take it personally.

She also found that sentiment in “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale. The book expresses the fact that if you don’t believe something, people can say it over and over, and it won’t get to you, because you know it’s not true. But, when you’re feeling insecure, you are more open to insults. In the end, “if you don’t buy into it, you’re not giving your consent.” And if you don’t give your consent, you can’t be made to feel inferior.

Check out other Quote Week articles as they come out here.

Leave a Comment