• Young people and self expression – What makes the difference?

    Posted on April 5, 2012 by brightideas in Blog

    Watching reality TV has a lot of bad press at times…it seems that there is a show out there to cover just about anything, particularly anything to do with singing and dancing. As a self confessed fan, I was interested to hear a story about two teenagers in the UK on Britain’s Got Talent.  Jonathan and Charlotte are teenagers who made the news in the UK and here in Australia at their audition to be part of the show. Jonathon confessed that he had been subject to bullying about his weight for a long, long time, and that he had been paired with Charlotte by his singing teacher so they could support each other.

    At the audition, Jonathan’s singing was simply spectacular. But what made the difference? What made a 17 year old who had been bullied for a long time about his appearance be able to get on a stage in front of millions of viewers and a scathing Simon Cowell and express himself? When Simon Cowell told Jonathan he wasn’t sure about whether his singing partner had ‘what it takes’, Jonathan stood by her, and told Simon that  she gives him the confidence to perform.  The one thing that is consistently related to happiness in life is the quality of our relationships with others (Reis & Gable, 2003), and to watch Jonathan’s face when the crowd went wild was very emotional.  This story reminded me of how important our connections with others are, and how they can give us the confidence to express ourselves.  It is also a reminder that teenagers can take the bravest steps if they have the right people behind them.


    Reis, H. T., & Gable, S.L. (2003). Toward a positive psychology of relationships. In Keyes, Corey L. M. (Ed); Haidt, Jonathan (Ed), (2003). Flourishing: Positive psychology and the life well-lived., (pp. 129-159). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association

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