My teenage daughter has a friend, who is a musician. Let’s call her Vivian.

Vivian writes her own music and lyrics, taught herself to play guitar, and produced her first EP by the time she was 16. All on her own.

Believe it or not, that’s not what makes her remarkable.

Sure, she’s talented.

But I live in a house full of talented musicians – and their friends are talented musicians – and most of what they do for fun has to do with seeking and enjoying other talented musicians…

…lots and lots of people are talented.

What makes this girl remarkable is the amount of opportunity she creates for herself.

If there is a local stage featuring live music, she’s either on it or involved with it. If there’s a contest, she’s in it. If there’s a course or program that’s free (this kid doesn’t have a lot of money) she signs up. If it’s far away, she gets a ride.

People tell her no all the time. She gets turned down for scholarships, loses competitions and is turned away as often as not.

A few days ago, my daughter, referring to a particularly harsh rejection and a subsequent triumph of Vivian’s, said, “I wish I could swallow my pride so that I could do more of that.”

That’s what it feels like, doesn’t it?

For most of us, when we ask for help or opportunity – it feels like we’re swallowing our pride.

But I’ve seen this girl operate. She’s not swallowing anything. She’s simply asking for what she wants. If the answer is no, she moves on and asks elsewhere. Her pride isn’t attached to the yes or no, it’s attached to playing music – and so she persists until she gets to play it.

When “pride” comes from someone else’s response to you, you’re caught in the trap of external validation and sooner or later you’ll have to swallow it.

True pride comes from the feeling we get from doing the things that we are meant to do, thethings that feel like a genuine contribution to the space we’re inhabiting.

What are the things that you want most? The things that you are meant to do?

This Week: 
Use pride as a focal point in your mindfulness practice.

Take a moment and . . .

  • Focus on anything that you do that truly makes you feel proud of yourself.
  • Set an intention to do something today that supports that part of you.
  • Visualize yourself doing it.
  • Now close your eyes and hold the vision in your mind’s eye for about 10 deep breaths. If your mind wanders, don’t worry or judge yourself, simply direct your attention back to your vision.

Do this several times each day or whenever you need a bit of focus or energy boost.

And Vivian? She’s touring with a band in Paris this fall.

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