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Tyler Huff: Having Heart

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When an intended compliment revealed an insecurity, Tyler Huff learned how to work on changing his attitude.

“Tyler has heart.” This was something I would hear a lot as a kid. I know that it’s supposed to be a compliment, but when you’re trying hard for something, only to be told you have “heart,” not skill, it always feels more like an insult.

I have been struggling with my self-esteem for a few years now. I tend to see others as better than I am or “more skilled” in most aspects. I know everyone has their talents, but I’ve always had an issue identifying mine. When I was young, my mom made me play a bunch of sports. The one that I ended up playing most was flag football. It was the only sport that I enjoyed to any degree and I had a friend from school on the team so that helped.

One of the last years I was on the team, I went to this flag football summer camp. I was not the best football player, nor the most athletic kid there, but nonetheless, I tried my best and thought that I improved. By the end of the camp when the coach was talking about everyone and it came to my turn, all I got was, “Tyler, you’ve got a heart of gold.”

Normally, I don’t let it get to me, but this time it really stuck with me. I’ve also always struggled with talking about myself and my strengths. My parents tell me that I’ve always been emotionally intelligent. When I hear that, sometimes it feels like I’m being told that I “have heart” again. I feel like that’s not a real skill. But, I also know that’s just my brain trying to compare myself to others. Emotional intelligence is a real skill, it’s just not easily observable. I am still not perfect, and have thoughts like that, but I’ve been working hard to see myself in a more positive light.


With a Perspective, I’m Tyler Huff.

Tyler Huff is a student at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco. Tyler’s piece was produced as part of KQED’s Youth Takeover classroom program.

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