Things Will Always Be About “Me”

Common Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) in the...

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Self-Care Tip #138 – Stay aware of “Me” to be more present with them.

The second thing I learned from Toastmasters is that no matter how good I get at doing the 1st lesson, in my eyes, things will always be about “Me.”  No matter how skilled or self-aware or Mother-Theresa I become, “Me” won’t disappear.

Mother Theresa, by the way, did exactly what was congruent with her temperament.  Doing what she did for others tied her in more closely than ever with them …her.  Doing what she did naturally only made her more present with herself, her own journey, her own awareness of self and at some point with others.  There is a symbiotic relationship so to speak.  Remember Nemo and his home in the sea anemone?

Doing well for myself and for others is not a problem of effort towards altruism or other saintly motives.  It’s a matter of biology.  More than ever, I believe in hard-wiring.  Acting like it isn’t about “Me” is boring and even irritating at times for others to watch.  Even when we are trained actors or Toastmasters in this case.

When we say that the acts of heroism someone did was temperamentally congruent, it takes a little shine off.  Would you still call Mother Theresa a saint if you knew this?  How about “Me?”  That shouldn’t make it any less wonderful, what we do in life when we do it this way.  Yet the sense of enchantment gets a little fainter.  It’s a shame because who we were made to be is magical.   Doing what we do best by design is what our personal angels might have a hand in, I think.

If we can’t keep sight of ourselves, of “Me” while still seeing who’s around, there might be something medical going on.  No one wants you to disappear.

Question:  How do you keep it about you even while remembering that it isn’t?  How do you live symbiotically?  Please tell me your story.

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.