Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Message #22 - Give Yourself a Break! - Part 2

New, and related, subject.  Did you know you’re funny?  I don’t mean funny like strange.  I mean funny like laughable.  Funny like ha, ha.  Sometimes, if you observed you you’d have a hard time not laughing.  How do I know this?  Because you’re a human being and therefore, by design, you do funny things sometimes.

If my saying this annoys you then I’m on target and you’re definitely the person I’m talking to.  Loosen up, friend.  Relax.  You’re being too serious.  Don’t take yourself so seriously.  We won’t take you less seriously because you take yourself less seriously.  (If this is a tautology, good.  If it isn’t, I need more practice.)

It’s OK to laugh at yourself.  From a strategic point of view it’s a good way to disarm those who are inclined to laugh at you rather than with you.  As a tool for personal well-being, laughing at that which is laughable about you is good for your health.  And demonstrates a degree of self-awareness that might otherwise be hidden.

Speaking of self-awareness, I endorse the notion that it is fine for you to think well of yourself.  I don’t endorse the notion that thinking well of yourself is license to unleash ego and arrogance to prove how great you are.  Which leads to a conundrum.  On a continuum with ego and arrogance at one end and humbleness and false modesty at the other, where is the appropriate place to be?

I like ‘unassuming’ as a place to be.  If you are unassuming you aren’t exhibiting pretensions, boastfulness or ostentation.  This doesn’t mean you have no basis for being prideful or that you lack self-esteem.  It only means that you choose not to exhibit off-putting qualities that probably stem from a basic insecurity rather than real confidence.

I’m amazed at how seemingly intelligent people can be oblivious to the impact they’re having on others.  A foolproof way to gauge how you are affecting your audience is to turn it around.  If the other person were doing what you’re doing how would you react to it?  If you’d be turned off, the chances are close to 100% that he would be too.

You don’t have to go to self-improvement school to learn this lesson.  It’s not some arcane Oriental skill.  Just common sense.  Or, you could say, common everyday awareness of how the world is reacting to you.  Just open your eyes.  It’s easy to see – when you look.

I hear a lot about self-awareness.  I don’t hear much about other-awareness.  There is lip service, like putting you in the place of the other, walking a mile in the other’s moccasins – stuff like that.  But you don’t really spend much time doing that.  I’m talking about compassion.

Compassion is often thought to be synonymous with pity.  I don’t mean pity.  Pity is more feeling bad for someone.  Feeling sorrow.  If you’re inclined to pity someone, that’s fine, (it’s not of much use because it doesn’t help, but if you want to feel pity, fine) but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about having a deep appreciation for the other person.  Being able to see what it takes for him to overcome the circumstances he faces.  Feeling in a way that the person is ennobled, not demeaned.  For me that’s compassion.  Maybe you’ll be able to be of help, maybe not.  But even if you can’t, you will be uplifted by the level of humanity you see expressed over there.

When you are compassionate, you Give Yourself a Break!


Blogger Ali1977 said...

Ahhhh. Your post made me feel a sense of relief and also other-awareness. Thank you for a nice post.

12:33 AM  

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