The day I pee-ed my pants in public was a big day. I was only six years old poised to sing in the school choir in front of hundreds of parents, teachers, and the entire school. And all I remember of that day was the janitor cleaning up the puddle with a mop and bucket, the laughter from the other kids, and being scurried away and sent home in disgrace.
Life is full of these moments when our ego gets bruised and knocked about. There have been times when we got fired because our work wasn’t good enough, or times when someone we desired rejected us, or when we screwed up the presentation we were meant to wow everyone with at work.
How we interpret these events is the key to having a life that thrives.
Some of us will continue to play full out despite the risk that we may once again experience those horrible feelings of shame or embarrassment. And some of us will continue to use these experiences as a reason to hide out and stay small, thinking it will us safe.
No one likes to have their ego bruised. But I can assure you that every single person who ever witnessed your embarrassing or lackluster moments did not give a hoot about your circumstances. Sure, they may have had a momentary chuckle or a thought that you were not standing in your finest moment, but their thought about you did eventually pass on by – and as much as you didn’t believe that was true, they actually forgot about you and went on with their life.
But not us. We hug, caress, and fondle those events, don’t we? We invite them in and get all warm and cozy with them. We become story fondlers.
And therein is the reason why some people show up in the world with more confidence than others. They feel the same uncomfortable emotions about themselves, but they don’t make it mean anything more than an isolated and neutral incident that happens to all of us. They don’t fondle their stories.
You may be saying: But, when I have one of those embarrassing moments I feel so awful – it feels like a death, and it’s so hard to ignore it and take that risk again.
I hear you, but it’s supposed to feel like a death. That’s the job of your brain to remind you that risk is to be feared and that you will never ever survive another episode. Our brains are so kind in trying to keep us safe. And we should be glad that our brains will alert us when we’re walking down a dark ally and we see a stranger lucking in a doorway. That’s when we want the alarm bell of our brain to remind us that we may not survive that kind of attack, but we will always survive an embarrassing event.
So, if you are someone who has gone on to label yourself as insecure, introverted, or not the kind of person who puts themselves out there, then consider also that you’ve made all of that up over the years. Consider that with each embarrassing moment you have endured you’ve also chosen to fondle that moment and make it mean more than it really is.
Let the stories go, let them fall away, and get prepared to meet the true, confident being that you are.
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