A university professor was preparing his final exam. He had taught this course for many years and always prepared an exam of multiple short essays to test students on their knowledge of the material. This year, he tried something different. When his students sat at their desks to take the exam, they found a blank sheet of paper and a notepad. When the test started, they found only these words: Evaluate Yourself.

When the professor received the exams back, he was amused by what he saw. One student had regurgitated the entire semester’s coursework in haphazard fashion on the notepad. Another student had several false starts, with “I am good,” “I am smart,” “I am competent” all scribbled out, leaving only scratches but no words. Several students had simply turned in their notepads blank. One wrote “A+! I am a winner!” in big block letters.

Yet one student’s response made the professor smile. “Professor, thank you for the class. I learned much from it. By the time you read this, I will most likely be at home, reading a book or spending time with my family. This test doesn’t evaluate me. I evaluate myself, and I say that I am not my successes or my failures. I am fine, I am worthy, I am loved.”

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