Thursday, August 13, 2009
Straight from the Students
I am repeatedly inspired by the wisdom of students that have taken part in Project: Inside Out, a leadership program that I lead for diverse teens. When students complete the program, I interview as many of them as I can and compile their responses in a document I call Straight from the Students. It is always a joy to hear the highlights of their learning and how they anticipate the program will change their lives.
One comment that stands out for me was made by a girl that was truly open to experiencing a new dimension of herself. When asked about a highlight of her learning, her response was "Confidence...I was very shy, even though I was a cheerleader. I realized I honestly didn't accept who I was. If I didn't accept myself as I was.....how could other people accept me?"
Obviously, the application of this beautiful piece of wisdom is not applicable to only teens. This little gem is one we all need to remember.
True confidence does not come from the compliments we hear from others. It does not necessarily grow with each award we receive, with each accomplishment we create or with every skill we master. It comes from the positive relationship we have with ourselves.
Confidence grows as we master the art of loving ourselves, unconditionally. When we "get it" that our value in this world is not dependent on our skills or accomplishments, we can enjoy the pure joy of confidence, regardless of how we are seen by others.
I agree with my student that it doesn't make sense to expect others to accept us, if we do not give the same unconditional respect to ourselves.
The literal bottom line.....Confidence is an inside job.