They say there are no coincidences, and thus my ears perk up when I encounter the convergence of two ideas.
Recently, I stumbled across a study showing that people who demonstrate higher degrees of self-deception are more successful in the world.
Participants were asked a series of embarrassing questions written to reveal the dark side within them. Those who lied in their answers also reported being happier and feeling more successful in their pursuits. This went beyond how they felt as they also earned more in their respective roles.
This study converged with the Buddhist principle of self-compassion without self-deception. This is the belief that if we drench honesty in compassion, we will live a more authentic, loving life. Self-compassion without self-deception is INNER INTEGRITY. And without inner integrity, it’s hard to imagine outer integrity.
My favorite definition of self confidence comes from Pema Chodron who said…
“The definition of self confidence is self gentleness.”
It’s beautiful yes? Can true self-confidence exist without self-gentleness?
Not the bravado self-confidence that we think of when someone is puffy and boastful; trying to occupy more space by squeezing someone else out. Nor the irrational self-confidence of someone who sees themselves as superior to the minions they are unfortunately surrounded by.
Those expressions are a fragile ego masked survival style by someone fearful of truly being seen as they are. I’m talking about genuine self-confidence.
- The kind that resides alive & graciously in our heart; easily accessed.
- The kind that burns bright in our belly; ready to support us through our failures so that we learn FROM the experience without allowing it to negatively imprint on our personality.
- The kind that knows we are perfect in our imperfections and whole without achievement.
- The kind that holds both truths: that we are magnificent, BIG, beautiful, and special AND ALSO small, flawed, impermanent, and part of something so much bigger than we are.
If self-confidence, as Pema suggests, can’t exist without self-gentleness, what do we make of the study linking self-deception and results?
Have we, as a society, become so inept at self-compassion that self-deception is required to carve a happy productive life? Have we replaced radical acceptance with deceit as a survival skill?
What if we could accept with compassion the whole truth of who we are without self-loathing? What if we were amused by our flaws and forgiving of our weakness?
What if we met failure with a heart of curiosity versus a mindset of judgement?
Could this impact our joy? Our authenticity? Our results? Our pocketbook?
And what if radical self-acceptance truly had only one meaningful impact: A deep wellspring of lifelong self love that radiated out of us; extending beyond our own being to all others, all initiatives, all projects.
Can you imagine, just for a moment, a commerce ecosystem driven by self compassion and love? Not the woo-woo, campfire singing, let’s hug versus work… but everyone functioning from a place of true self confidence, compassion, and integrity. Where the person next to you isn’t masked their fear or bloated with bravado.
The gap between where we are now and that utopia is the chasm of a lifetime. But what if we each committed to doing our part; beginning with the inner work of creating authentic self-confidence and dropping our facades?
Choose Well Today.
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