Notes from a self conscious soul 2 - Beating the monster

It's been a while since 'Notes from a self conscious soul -1' happened and I'm beginning to feel a bit guilty about not doing the part 2. Anyway I finally managed to get it down.

Let me begin by saying you probably know all of this. But sometimes it just helps hearing it from someone else or hearing it over and over again.

We begin with the thought that we're in good company, heck, great company. Take a look: 

I'm one of the world's most self-conscious people. I really have to struggle. - Marilyn Monroe 

Yeah that's an original Marilyn Monroe quote, Marilyn of the billowing dress fame. Oh she well and truly decimated the monster.

Speaking from personal experience two things that worked for me were -

One - Growing older: There's some serious magic in the way age puts things in perspective. I find myself trying new things and enjoying them. Don't we often call old people eccentric? In all probability they are simply doing exactly as they please. I'm so looking forward to turning into an eccentric old woman.

and Two - Having kids: Seriously, the little monsters can scare the s**t out of the big one. Since they came along, the twins found so many different ways to embarrass me at so many different levels that by the time they had figured out what the word 'embarrassment' means I had attained nirvana. I mean where's the space for the e-word after being publicly subjected to raging tantrums, being made to fish out tiny transformer parts from public dustbins and I don't even want to think about what happened in lingerie section of the mall. Yeah they pretty much did it for me.

Unfortunately all of that is not quite in our hand. Some friends swear by the good effects of the 'spirit' if you know what I mean - a drink or two and you're good to go. The results however can be a tad unpredictable and if that's not your style you need to try other ways. Here's how:

Take on the monster full blast: 

The more often you trounce it the easier it becomes, a minuscule degree at a time - but better it does get. I well remember how utterly embarrassed I was when my first byline appeared in the newspaper. Happy yes, most definitely, but embarrassed as hell too. Yet I wrote and wrote and wrote. It helped that it was part of my job and that I had little choice. But on I went and here I am writing about the monster himself. Ah progress!!!

Know your stuff: 

Knowledge and practice is another way to go after it. Practice, practice and more practice. 

Relive your successes:

.. and store them away in your head. The next time the monster comes by you know you've kicked it once you can do it again. And remember that wonderful after-the-kick moment? Bliss, isn't it? Savour it.

Focus on others: 

If you haven't realised this already there are many people like us out there. It makes sense then to have each other's backs. Watch out for that new girl in your class, say a Hello. See someone struggling with a machine in the gym - lend a hand. The friendlier you make the atmosphere around you the more comfortable you feel, as does your friend and that makes both your monsters decidedly uncomfortable. Two birds one stone :-).

Talk to yourself:

Remind yourself that others are human - just like you - and that nobody is the best at everything. Remind yourself of the things you're reasonably good at. You might not be the best conversation maker but you may rule the research lab, you may not set the dance floor on fire but you may light up a classroom. It takes courage to do something you know you're not good at, so if you've put yourself in that uncomfortable situation, you're one brave person. Remind yourself.

Lighten up:

Don't take yourself too seriously. Laugh at yourself, admit your slip-up and ask for help if you need to.

Lastly, it really doesn't matter: 

It helps to tell yourself that. IT DOES NOT MATTER. It really doesn't. Your fashion faux pas, your clumsy dance, your tongue tied appearance at the party - it will all be forgotten. People do forget. Sooner than you think.

The other option of course, is to go through life, playing it safe, avoiding judgement, keeping away from situations that require you to put yourself out there. You can do it. I've done that, for a long long time. But life's just that much more fun if you put up a fight and win, right?

Do give it a shot. Kick that monster (and keep kicking it) then watch how free, spontaneous and wonderfully happy you feel.

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