As I was responding to an email, I noticed that the profile picture to whom I was replying was that of a house cat staring into a mirror. It's a cute picture but a powerful illustration because what the cat sees as a reflection of himself is the image of a lion.
I also watched a talk on TED.com where Brene Brown (Listening to Shame) discusses the topic of shame and vulnerability. Here, she asked how many people in the audience view vulnerability as a weakness. A large majority raised their hand. She later asked how many people who saw vulnerability on the stage viewed it as courageous. A large group rose their hands. My assumption is that the display of vulnerability when viewed as a weakness is most likely associated to self, and seen as courageous when associated to others.
On another TED talk, Sheryl Sandberg (Why we have too few women leaders), exclaimed that the difference between men and women is that men attribute their successes to themselves, and that women sort of downplay their successes and divert the credit. This was a very powerful talk.
I mention these three examples to talk about self-perception. How do we view ourselves opposed to how we want other people to perceive us? Do we really feel the excitement of life that we present on our facebook pictures, or is it what we want people to believe? Do we really feel beautiful when we dress up to go out on the town, or is that how we want to appear? When we tell people that we really have confidence in ourselves, is it mere words to deflect pity or is it the honest truth?
How do we really feel when the spotlight is on us? When our bosses critique our performance, do we still feel like the lion in the mirror?
Everyday, I struggle with how I perceive myself and maintaining that "lion" image. Somedays, I lose that battle; and some of those days are when things are going well. Everyday, life humbles me whether it is in my baseball career or my personal life. I begin to worry about how others are viewing me, but more importantly I begin to doubt if I am who I really say I am; or if I am as worthy as I believed I was.
I am learning everyday that it is ok to say that I am great. I don't have to wait on people to tell me that I am a lion.
It is ok to say you are great. It is perfectly fine to believe that you are beautiful. It is not the end of the world if everyone doesn't agree with you or if everyone doesn't like you. You can't be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to yourself! Everyone will never be pleased. Besides, though we are our most biased critics, we are our best critics. We know when we are lying to ourselves. We know how we really feel. We have the key to truly shape our perception, but also the decision to determine if we really believe what we are presenting.
"The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively." -Bob Marley-ReplyDelete
...you are great...