Last week during my Youth Camp we did an exercise. I asked the girls to write down what they believe people see when they look at them.
It was interesting to see that their shortcomings seemed to be blatantly apparent, and it was very difficult to come up with anything positive to say about themselves. This was a really fun exercise because after they struggled to tell us anything good about themselves we all had the opportunity to say what we saw when we looked at them. I did not have to pull anything out of the girls, they were all ready and willing to share positive impressions of their friends.
They all asked me to do it too. I wanted to be a good example and try to come up with some self-confident impressions of who am I and what I want to express. The crazy thing is that I too had to think long and hard to find something positive about myself. We were rushed to get back to riding, so I revisited the exercise in the morning, after some time to think about my response. I do all sorts of self-mastery practices. I believe that confidence comes with expressing our authentic self and knowing who that is and what we want to bring to the world. Yet this simple exercise showed me that I also carry my self doubts far closer to the surface than my strengths. It was also very interesting that the people that became the most uncomfortable with the exercise were unwilling to share anything positive about themselves at all. This is sad because it is coming from the way they per sieve people are looking at them. These ideas are being confirmed through their teachers, parents, and peers. The idea that it comes from social media may also be proven, however, I believe if real people look and see the positive traits, look at these amazing kids with belief and enthusiasm this will override any kind of negative self-image that might come from social media.
I also realize that it needs to start with me. If I can think about what someone might see about me that is positive, every day, then it will be easier for me to look at someone else with love and believe in their strengths. I will challenge myself to look in the mirror every morning and come up with a positive attribute that I want to share with the world that day. I will look at myself and see that person. Then I will work to make sure that my eyes are open to see the positive in everyone I encounter throughout the day. I will also make sure that they know that I see it.
I challenge you to do the same.
Clarity ~ Confidence ~ Connection