Stop Blushing. It’s Not About “Me.”

Beckwith James Carroll Lost in Thought

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Self-Care Tip #137 – Take yourself out of it to be more present in it.

When I started Toastmasters, I blushed, I stammered, I um-d my way through every talk.  I thought about “Me” a lot.  I thought about others in relation to Me.  I kept thinking, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”  (Which, by the way, is supposed to desensitize Me and make Me feel better.)  But I just got more doe-eyed in the headlights.

I lasted about a year in this speaking club before life grew over it and I dropped out.  I still consider myself a Toastmaster, though, and, many friendly critiques later, I remember my hard-earned lessons:

1.  In other people’s eyes, it is not about “Me.”

Bob Freel, from Toastmasters International, often coached us to think about our emotional connection with our audience.  He made it clear that the reason so many of our talks stunk was that we were so caught up in ourselves.  We were not looking at “their” faces.  Thinking about “their” feelings.  Speaking to “their” interests.

Now how does this relate to self-care you ask?  Well, when anxiety hits my patients, they seem to find a little solace hearing that most of the things people do or say around them, to them, about them, etc. has nearly nothing to do with them.  Even when they are named by the person speaking.  That can be confusing, but just because our name may be on someone’s lips, on the program, on the tag — that doesn’t make it about us.

I am amazed at how true this is when flipped around too.  When I think about how often I’m thinking about others, (or not thinking about others,) I stop in my own tracks.  I’m pretty darn self-absorbed.  Yet, that is not a bad thing.  It’s just how it is.  For all of us.

Pulling our own selves out of the equation, helps us in fact to be more present in it.  For our own selves and later for others.

Sometimes we just can’t do this though.  That’s when we need to think biology is getting in our way from getting out of ourselves.  Let’s do it and stop blushing.

To read about #2 on this fine list, tune in tomorrow fellow friends-to-ourselves!

Question:  How has pulling your own self out of the equation helped you be more present in it?  Please tell me your story.

11 thoughts on “Stop Blushing. It’s Not About “Me.”

  1. people are so often worried about how they will appear they forget what their audience wants from a talk. the essence is that they are TOO self aware and not sufficiently aware of the others and their needs.

    I learned to talk to many just by concentrating ob THEM and not on me and how I was feeling

    • sweeeeeeT! can’t wait for the report. (don’t… – i think i remember u sniffing a lot?) 😉 u r so much fun to listen to and your content never ever lacks depth. u have a way of drawing out a transference from your listeners – oh! there’s that great dad i always wished i had! and such. have a good time at least! yay “M”!

  2. “Pulling yourself out to be more present” That is a real hard one and I hope I can get a D or C on this assignment. . My condo association is about to collapse due to 20 units paying no maintenance, 60% paying occasionally and 20% paying. Let’s call him Thomas, a very smart fellow and especially astute with business matters. He said he would help but not be a board member. In this way he could make suggestions for policy unencumbered by the emotions of fear, anxiety, insecurity, and despair that keeps board members in constant panic. To be objective, like on the outside looking in as opposed to all the emotional strain of chronic crisis management that characterizes being inside the bubble. So at first he was not in the bubble and outside of the bubble but as time progresses and as a unit owner he is drawn into the bubble and losing that objectivity. So the question statement is very hard to answer re being present without being contaminated by self instinctual preservation with fear as the engine of action. If it is some one else’s problem we can than be present through assisstance and at the same time not be a variable. So I don’t think a balance can be achieved as the proposition is stated if you are in any way inside the bubble.

    • “fear as the engine of action”. Nicely said. When your stabilizing life assets r threatened, folks, what should motivate us? Say the very most healthy minded of us, ( whoever u r? 😉 ). Hard yes. Is fear ok? Yes I’d say. Who wouldn’t b afraid? I wonder if anyone else out there might give us their take?
      Stepping back, I’d postulate this. Going to the fear, finding out what worst thing might happen, stay there long enough for the panic to go away then step back again – will help give access to other less bullying motivations….

      • “…finding out what worst thing might happen…” That”s EXACTLY what Dr. T is having me do. If I lose my place, which represents my life’s assets, I’ll have to find a way. I have to adapt. So if the worst happens I have social security and pension. And although it will take 100% of the lesser to get an apartment I will be better off than most people here because they still must pay their mortgage and the cost of an apartment. There are times of harmony and times of imbalance or discord. As a history teacher I must remember how societies have prospered in times of peace and suffered in times of war. This may be my time of discord, a metaphor for war, but it will be survivable although with a greatly diminished standard of living. By focusing on that, it has helped some of the fear and anxiety evaporate. The status quo of today’s ever changing world is that there is no status quo. One door closes, another opens.

  3. I was thrust into being a Compère at every single fashion show put on by the boutique I used to manage, and now spend a fair amount of time presenting training to staff in my current position as well as having to present talks to other companies.
    Luckily for me having done speech and drama at school I quickly learnt to focus entirely on the audience and forget about me and my shaking knees 🙂
    Thanks for the visit, I’m glad you enjoyed my scribbling!

  4. I just “pull myself out” by not thinking about it as being personally directed towards me … EASIER said than done!
    But thinking about it and not just seeing it in a “personal light” helps!

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