I’ve just finished selecting the next round of Fear Experiment‘ers – people who are challenging themselves by signing up solo to learn an art-form that perhaps they’re not the best at and then performing it in front of 700 – and during each application period (this is number seven), I am so touched by the courage and vulnerability that people show me. And they’re often people I’ve never met.
This go-round, I again was moved by the applicants. But another emotion surfaced as well — sadness.
Applicants’ answers to two questions led me to this sadness —
1) What’s something you’d like to be better at?
2) What’s something you’re proud of?
While no one had any trouble listing one, three, ten things they wanted to be better at, many struggled to name ONE thing that made them proud of themselves.
Applicants for Fear Experiment and Life of Yes! Sleepaway Camp freely share their stories of struggles with body-image, parents, breakups, friends, death of loved ones, gender confusion, addiction, divorce, homosexuality, DUIs, getting fired, meeting one’s biological dad for the first time, jail, infertility, feeling ‘alone’ and ‘less than’ due to lack of a significant other…
Yet struggle to share a goodness about themselves.
What’s something you’d like to be better at?
- Does it have to be just one something?
- Another thing that I want to be better at it is figuring out how I can be of use to the world.
- I want to learn how to use my voice and speak up more instead of hiding in the background. I want to feel like I have accomplished something I can be proud of.
- General confidence and feeling comfortable in my own skin. Loving me for me.
- I’d LOVE to be better at accepting myself as I accept others. I’d LOVE to be better at loving myself as I do others. I’d LOVE to be better at RECEIVING love!
- I’d love to be better at identifying my own superpower, so to speak. I guess, in a word, that’s building more self-confidence? I heard Saya talk recently about how people struggle to name the things they’re good at, but can rattle off an endless list of things they’re not – I didn’t realize how much that held true for me until I tried to name the things I was awesome at and things I was proud of for this FE application.
While I absolutely could rattle off twenty-five personal flaws, things at which I suck, areas I wish I could improve, I could absolutely also rattle off twenty-five rockstar qualities and accomplishments of mine. It makes me incredibly sad when years of beating oneself up and being beaten up with “I can’t, you can’t, what if, if only, I wish” makes it hard for people to see the light within them and that they radiate out to the world.
One applicant’s reflection on a source of personal pride struck me as being something I hope that everyone, everywhere feels at some point in their life —
Finally learning what it means to love myself. It’s been a LONG, hard road to get to this place – yet without everything that I’ve been through, I would not know what a gift this really is to know that I am a good person, worthy of love and respect – and to be able to give that to myself.
A desire of Husband and I to want people to be able to love themselves is one of the main reasons we lead our Life of Yes! Sleepaway Camps (LOYSC). In what is perhaps one of the most uplifting metamorphosis’ in which to have a hand and to observe, the unplugged weekends of strangers — everyone comes solo — sharing, supporting, and growing have been one of the most personally rewarding journeys of my life.
“I just wanted to thank you guys for such an amazing weekend. I did things I have never done this weekend, spoke about things I have never shared with anyone and I did it all with people I just met and I didn’t even know anyone’s last name. You guys are amazing and so brave and so real, it makes it so easy to do the same when you have others doing it with you. You are both really helping people change and it’s an amazing gift to give to adults. I had the best weekend ever and made new friends which is something that has really been missing in my life. I just can’t thank you enough!!” – a past camper
If you’re struggling to recognize, value, and use your own superpowers, or if you know someone who is, I invite you to check out LOYSC. The Fall getaway is in October and applications close soon.
We would be honored to have you on our next journey…
And to hear how awesome you are.