I want to talk about being cool and inner confidence. You may think I am not the right person to talk about this because of my age, but I thought sharing my experience of this would be helpful for some people.

Being cool isn't about having the latest iPhone, designer clothes, BMW car, or whatever you think you need to make yourself cool. Being cool is all about inner confidence and inner confidence comes from being yourself. Without inner confidence you can pretend to be cool but it won’t last. You might be able to maintain it for a while but you won’t feel satisfied and you may feel somewhat sad and lonely because the people around you are attracted to the person you are trying to be, and you know that they are not really there for the person that you are. For example, a girl that has scars on her faces and always hides them with makeup. A boy is attracted to her and then one day sees her without makeup and is then not attracted to her anymore. You can’t hide who you are forever. I think a lot of people’s stress comes from this type of thing.

But being yourself doesn’t mean doing whatever you want; a lot of people misunderstand the term ‘be yourself’ to mean do whatever you want. But it doesn’t mean that, that is not how you should understand it. Being yourself means trying your best, so if you can’t help others, at least don’t harm them. Sometimes people get harmed by who we are or what we do and often we can’t do much about it, but the main thing is that your intention isn’t to harm others. For example, if someone is jealous of you, then that is not your problem. But if you intentionally make someone jealous, then that is their problem and your problem as well.

Being yourself means being who you really are. For example, if we steal something we have a feeling of uneasiness or guilt. This is a sign that we are not acting in accord with our true nature. Whereas when we act with compassion and do something that helps others we feel happy and content, which is a sign we are acting in accord with our true nature. Even the worst person in the world has some compassion; they help those they love, a sign that every person’s basic nature is good.

So instead of putting effort into maintaining your fake image, try and find the real you. 

Author: Pong Re Rinpoche