If I had a nickel for every time people told me I looked strong while I was feeling weak, I'd be a millionaire.
Giving presentations, going out, chatting with friends... On countless occasions I felt like nobody truly understands me. Don't they get it? Is it their projection? Can't they see what's really going on in my head?
Obviously not, and that's a good thing.
Receiving feedback that I come across differently than I feel is an opportunity. To step out of self-consciousness, and listen to another's perspective. To embrace my own strengths. To validate what I may be doing well. To not go straight for the self deprecating joke. Putting others before and above me lest they feel threatened, or worse, think I'm horrible.
Acknowledging strengths needs to go both ways. Allow yourself to shine, and others will take it as permission to do the same. Ok, it's easier to validate others than accept a compliment. But awareness of your gifts, my friends, is a stepping stone to congruence and authenticity. Hop to it.
Image by Alexandre Huang, Flickr, Creative Commons License.