Inquiry: I need to make a good impression

I need to make a good impression.

  1. True?
    Yes. It feels true in some situations.
  2. Sure it is true?
  3. What happens when I have that belief?
    • I feel I need to make a good impression.
    • I have stories telling me I need to make a good impression. I have images of what may happen if I don’t.
    • I feel nervous. I get self-conscious. I am very aware of what I do and say, and how it may appear to others.
    • I stifle myself to some extent. I feel stifled, rigid. I hold back. I don’t speak up as much as I otherwise would. I try to keep in the background.
    • When did I first have that story? Definitively in early elementary school. Perhaps even earlier. I may have picked it up from my parents before elementary school age.
  4. Who would I be without it?
    At peace. Befriending myself and the situation. Feeling relaxed. Fine to be myself. Fine to not scrutinize everything I say or do.
  5. Turnarounds.
    • I don’t need to make a good impression.
      • Yes, that is true. Realistically, I don’t need to make a good impression on everyone, or everyone to like me. It is better to be as I am, and then see who still stick around.
      • When I don’t try to make a good impression, I feel more comfortable and others may feel comfortable as well. It benefits us all. I want to be in that kind of atmosphere, so why not be a good example?
      • I will still survive.
    • I need to make a bad impression.
      • Yes, to test my belief. What happens when I make a bad impression? Yesterday, I felt I said something stupid in a group, but they still seemed to like. I even went out to dinner with one of them afterwards and had a very enjoyable and meaningful conversation.


Finding underlying assumptions:

Why do I  need to make a good impression? So people will like me. Treat me well. So they won’t attack me.

Why do I need people to like me? So they will treat me well. So they will be kind. So they won’t attack me.

Why do I need them to treat me well? So they will support me. Be on my side. Help me when I need it. Not sabotage me.

Why do I need others to help me? (This triggered some spontaneous fear.) I am unable to do everything on my own. I need the help of others – to grow food, build houses, and so on. I need the help of others to live and survive. More realistically, I see I can still get by without people helping me at a personal level. I can find ways of making it work. I am not dependent on people helping me.

Why do I need to live and survive? I don’t know! I cannot find a good reason. I want to live. I want to experience. I want to see how this life turns out. And that is all. The honest answer is that I don’t know.


Synchronicity: A few seconds after clicking “publish” here, I saw this as the first entry on Facebook.

If you can afford to be who you are, then that automatically means you could receive others as your guests. That makes other people more comfortable and welcome so they don’t have to put up their portion of resistance anymore. It is mutual understanding. You see, generally people pick up some kind of psychic vibrations that you put out & before you exchange words, there is a kind of meeting between the 2 psyches.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

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