Inquiry: I need to make a good impression

 

Statement: I need to make a good impression.

  1. Is it true?
    Yes, feels true sometimes.
  2. Can I absolutely know it is true?
    No. Also don’t know that it would be the best for my, and others, path.
    What evidence do I have for that statement?
    My parents, and this culture, seems to have that belief. It may help me get what I (think I) want.
    How does that evidence prove the initial statement?
    Hm… it doesn’t. It is only a belief shared by many. And I don’t know that getting what I think I want is the best for me or others. Before I look more closely at it, it appears as evidence and proof, but when I explore, I cannot find it.
  3. What happens when I have that belief?
    I try to make a good impression. I imagine how others may see me, compare it with how I think they may want to see me, and then try to bridge the gap. I create strategies for appearing to them in a way they, or I, see as favorable. It brings up frustration since there is a need for a monitoring of a great deal of variables, and there is no certainty in the assumptions nor the outcome. I don’t know how I appear to others. I don’t know what would make a favorable impression on them. I don’t know what strategy to apply to appear to them in a way they find favorable. There are unknowns all around. Also, it is dissatisfying since I feel a need to be or behave differently from what happens more naturally. There is a sense of alienation and separation from myself, others, the world, life. I am afraid of what may happen if I don’t make a good impression, and run scenarios about what may happen. Even if I do make a good impression, according to my own story about it, then I am afraid I may do something to ruin it. There is never any safety there, no place to rest.
    What do I get from holding onto that belief?
    I get to feel that I am in control. That I can control how others see me, and thus create a favorable situation for myself. I get to feel that I am taking care of myself. Also, I become very self-conscious, monitoring how I may appear to others, which is uncomfortable. And there are many uncertainties involved, which makes it uncomfortable as well. The whole project feels tenuous.
    When did I first have that thought?
    Probably when I was with my parents in a social situation, and I saw they acting from that belief, which I then took as an absolute, a way to survive in the world.
    Where do I experience it in the body?
    A heaviness in the chest and belly. A sinking sense. Shallow breath.
    How do I treat others when I have that belief?
    I treat them as separate from myself, as different, as someone to be afraid of and manipulate. As someone to trick into seeing me a certain way, and then behave accordingly, so I get what I want.
    How do I treat myself?
    As someone separate from others and life. As a victim of others and situations. As someone who cannot be and act in a natural way, for my own sake. As someone who is not good enough as I am. As someone who needs to manipulate others to get what I want.
  4. Who or what would I be without that belief?
    At peace. Connected, with myself, others, life. Enjoyment… of myself, others, the situation, life. Sense of no separation, of just life happening. A sense of being rather than seeking. A sense of fun. Engagement. Spark. Relaxed. More sense of fullness. Sense of a seamless landscape of what is, whatever is.
  5. Turnarounds.
    (a) I don’t need to make a good impression.
    Yes. I can get by without. Things seems to work out anyway. Also, that way there is no particular image to live up to. I have already failed, so I am free to be and act without trying to live up to anything in particular. Also, I may find a more genuine connection with others if I don’t make a good impression, in a conventional sense. If I am more real, more fully human, more naked and with less need to live up to any particular identity or image.
    (b) I need to make a poor impression.
    Yes, so I don’t have anything to live up to. So there is freedom there. So the glossy image I tried to live up to is not available anymore.
    (c) I don’t need to make a poor impression.
    Yes, not even that. I don’t need to be caught up in the stories of making any impression at all.
    (d) My thinking needs to make a good impression.
    Yes, that is where it comes from. It is my thinking, or rather identification with particular thoughts and stories, which makes it appear as if I need to make a particular impression.
    (e) My thinking does not need to make a good impression.
    True as well. Thoughts are just thoughts. They just appear.
    (g) Others need to make a good impression.
    Yes, they think they do, at least, sometimes.
    (h) Others do not need to make a good impression.
    Also true. I often find more connection with people when they don’t make a good impression, in a conventional sense. I feel more connected with them, I can more easily find myself in them, I more easily find our shared humanity. They become more human to me, so I like them more, when they don’t make a good impression in a conventional sense. It is disarming.
    (o) Turnaround to bring into daily life:
    Others do not need to make a good impression. Noticing how I feel more connected with people when they are just human, not trying (or able) to live up to anything in particular. (And bring that back to how I relate to others.)

Related statements: I need to be successful.

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