Discover Your Confidence
What is your earliest memory of someone being cruel to you? Many of us experienced bullying in some form or another before we even knew the word “bully.” These memories are likely branded under your skin like an invisible tattoo. If you’re lucky, you had the institutional, familial, and societal support to keep you strong. If you did, this tattoo may just be a painful ache when something presses on it every now and again. If you didn’t, however, and the bullying didn’t stop, your invisible tattoo may feel like it’s encompass your entire body. It may even be the reason why you decided to seek online schooling.
Emily Lindin was a victim of bullying when she was in middle school. She considers herself one of the lucky ones: one who had the support to build herself up out of the trauma. Unfortunately, many aren’t so lucky. Lindin’s rousing talk at TEDx-Youth offers practical, measured steps to help youth increase and discover their confidence and use it to help combat bullying, both as a victim, bystander, and perpetrator.
Her steps are simple but effective. First, she recommends selecting something you’re good at and like doing, and commit to getting better at it every day. This daily awareness of your strengths helps you to develop deep confidence. It helps you know yourself better, so that when someone says something cruel or untrue, it’s easier to have a less-emotional response, because you’ve developed confidence in who you are, not who they say you are.
Second, Lindin recommends setting small daily goals to get better at something you’d like to improve at. This could be your passion, or something completely different. Seeing small daily successes helps develop confidence, both in skill and one’s ability to meet expectations. These must be SMART goals, an acronym developed by Project Smart, spelled to represent:
S - specific, significant, stretching
M - measurable, meaningful, motivational
A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable
Finally, Lindin recommends we practice kindness. This may seem odd-- if you’re being the one bullied, why do you have to practice kindness? Well, because practicing being kind to others can translate to being kind to yourself. It’s also an opportunity to stand up for someone else being bullied by saying or doing something kind to stop the flow of negativity. Lindin also points out that most bullies bully because they have very little self-confidence themselves, and therefore feel compelled to put others down to lift themselves up. If you’re already working daily to develop your own self-confidence, then the compulsion to bully others should be negated.
Today, take a moment to ask yourself: what are you good at? What would you like to get a bit better at? And what might be an opportunity for you to practice kindness today?
After all, as Shakespeare so poignantly put it: “To thine own self be true.”