Monday, June 26, 2017

     “When you don’t care what people think about you, you lose the capacity for connection.” Brené Brown

     According to author, researcher, motivator, Brené Brown, “connection” is a basic human need. Whether we want to believe it or not, it is what we are all seeking. If you are one of those who says, “I don’t really give a damn what people think of me,” then you are telling yourself you don’t need connection. I am one who humbly admits that I do need connection, but we all need it in different degrees. It took many years for me to realize that I needed time with loved ones, time with colleagues, time with friends, but I also needed time with me. Not rewarding myself with the latter caused some unrecognized issues in my life. Now, I know when I need “alone” time, and I take it. “Alone” time is really not alone; it is time with yourself, with your thoughts, with your dark side, with your favorite read, your favorite tree—it’s time to regroup, regenerate, relax. 

     In his editorial, “Being perceived as you want to be,” author and executive communication coach, Robert Parkinson says, “The primary factor by which people form conclusions and perceptions about others usually happens in two quick steps—by how a person looks and then by how that person sounds when he or she speaks. It includes how a person stands, moves, walks, gestures.” Most of us probably don’t even think about any of those things unless we’re interviewing for a job or getting ready for a blind date. Call it “first impression,” “quick judgment,” whatever you wish, but it’s no secret that we all do the mental tally when we first meet someone.

     Do you know people who just make the room light up when they walk in? Do you know people who cast a black cloud when they enter a room? Do you know people who just seem to fade into the woodwork, and you even forget they were there? They are all humans with their own attributes, flaws and needs. Some of us are in touch with our needs; others, no to much.

     A good friend, a life coach, once said, “You are very self-aware.” I said, “Isn’t everyone?” She said, “Not at all.” Being self-aware, to me, means being sensitive to others, considerate of their feelings and behaviors and, most importantly, showing my good side to the world. After all, who wakes up in the morning and says, “Hmm. Let’s see how people will react to my bad side?”

     Parkinson continues, “People will assume many things about you. Help them make the correct ones.” For those who don’t give a damn what others think, go right ahead and give us whatever side you choose. For those of us who care, we might want to stand taller today, feel and mean our smiles, look others in the eye when we speak and weigh our words a little more carefully. When I leave a room, I always hope those left behind feel better about themselves somehow. If I’m the only one feeling better, then there’s definitely something wrong.