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Saturday we had another interactive and fun meeting. All of our members were in attendance, plus three honored guests! Liana was our Toastmaster of the Day and she set the theme for the meeting as “Mindfulness.” We all did our best to remain focused and free from distractions through the duration of the hour.

Samreen delivered a heartwarming speech about her grandmother, and Ayesha provided us with some concerning statistics and information about the reading abilities of American children and teenagers. Both speeches were well-delivered and well-rehearsed. You ladies were so poised! Thank you both, Samreeen and Ayesha.

Our guests joined in on Table Topics and it was inspiring to see their confidence!

Their confidence reminded me of the following quote, “If you are peaceful and happy, know that you are very close to yourself. If you are sad and stressed, know that you are close to your ego.”

Many of us try to be perfect and desire to impress others with our skill and ability. We want to know exactly what to say to a struggling friend, strive to be completely prepared at school or work, and eliminate errors and mistakes completely.

These high expectations come directly from our egos. Our egos recite all of the “shoulds” and “musts.” Our egos tell us to be perfect and inform us of what to strive for. When we inevitably fall short of meeting our lofty goals, we become depressed for letting ourselves and others down. It follows that our own egos can be blamed for low self-esteem and decreased confidence.

The solution is to be accepting of ourselves and to be realistic about our abilities. The more we banish judgement, accept ourselves as we are now, flaws and all, the sooner we will know happiness. And with happiness comes confidence.

You may be thinking that this theory directly contradicts the purpose of Toastmasters clubs. In Toastmasters we are encouraged to push outside of our comfort zones, set high-reaching goals, and to make progress toward achieving them.

But upon further inspection you’ll note that theory works perfectly with the Toastmasters purpose. One of the cornerstones of Toastmaster growth is to be able to give and receive constructive criticism with grace. To be able to receive such comments without feeling absolutely crushed or discouraged, we require stable and sound self-esteem. We need the confidence to acknowledge that we are not perfect and likely never will be. We must instead accept our flaws and be willing to work towards improvement. To accept advice, we must be far from our egos and close to ourselves.

As the quote implies, when we are close to ourselves we know true contentment.

contentment

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