We’re all guilty of wanting to impress those around us every now and then. But what purpose does this behavior actually serve besides leading you away from your true self? Discover how you can tamper down the ‘look at me!’ urge to live a happier and more fulfilled life.
Okay, so we all know how good it feels to have somebody look at you with awe in their eyes. It’s an even better feeling if they’re somebody that you especially look up to and respect. And while this experience is fantastic if it’s earned naturally (and unintentionally), trying to manufacture this situation is significantly less than fantastic.
For instance, what if you continually adapted your behavior, actions, thoughts and words solely to garner this reaction from those around you? This, my friends, is called trying hard. Specifically, trying hard to impress other people. And it’s something that none of us were born, or designed, to do.
Find out why focusing on impressing others should be eliminated from your behavioral vocabulary and how you can release your insecurities to be true to the real you.
The truth is that being dishonest about your true self hurts nobody but you. When you’re putting forward a perfect image, idea or notion about yourself, more often than not you’re exaggerating your personality and accomplishments.
Instead, you should strive to surround yourself with people that like you without all the hoo-hah. People that think you’re incredible without having to be told so. People that can see the real you and still enjoy spending time with you.
This is what friendship is truly about, not garnering attention so you can impress others, or boasting about your accomplishments. Besides, you’ll actually be surprised by how much more you will impress those around you when you cease actually trying to. People value honesty, truth and authenticity. If you are true to yourself, then everything else will fall into place.
If I’ve managed to convince you that trying to impress others isn’t the ideal strategy, then your first step to eliminating this behavior is working out why you do it in the first place.
For many people, the need to fit in and be accepted overwhelms a lot of their actions and behavior. In an attempt to be socially accepted by the group of their choice, they choose to show off and try to impress others.
For other people, the feeling of having someone look at them and think ‘Wow, you’re so successful/smart/beautiful/charming’ is enough motive to continue trying to impress others.
And for others yet, the simple fact is that they don’t know how to be themselves around other people. So instead they resort to projecting an image of themselves that they believe will be impressive and likeable.
However, there are multiple reasons why you might be trying to impress others, and it’s worthwhile thinking about what it is about this behavior that entices you exactly. Ask yourself what you like about impressing others, how it makes you feel and how it impacts your life.
Through these questions you should be able to pinpoint your motive for trying to impress other people.
Strategy #2: Address the issue
Now that you know why you’re behaving this way, you can start making steps to change your behavior. For instance, if your actions stem from a lack of confidence or an abundance of insecurity, you can begin focusing on how to build up your self-confidence again. Or if you simply like the thrill of having others revere and look up to you, you can find a legitimate path to helping and supporting others, perhaps in a mentoring role.
As humans, we are extremely complicated, both emotionally and psychologically. No two people behave exactly the same way for the same reasons. And in fact, you may not even behave the same for the same reasons all the time. Insecurity may spur your behavior in one instance but a need for approval could spur it the next time.
For the greatest chance of success, keep your mind open during this period and simply acknowledge why you are doing what you’re doing. Don’t classify it as good or bad; just accept it for what it is. Then you can choose to behave in a different way.
Keep in mind too that behavior change isn’t an overnight process. There will be periods of success and relapse, which go hand-in-hand with your eventual behavior elimination. Be patient and kind to yourself during this process and remember that you are extremely likable and valuable exactly as you are.
Another good strategy to adopt is to remember that no matter how wonderful somebody else appears or seems, at the end of the day they are just human. They use the bathroom, shower, feel nervous, angry and scared just like everyone else. And in turn, so do you.
To place unrealistic expectations on yourself to be the person that everyone admires is a lose-lose game because you will never be perfect enough. There will always be something greater that you can achieve, do and see.
Instead, accept yourself as you are, right now. Sure, we all have flaws. Who doesn’t? You might not say the right thing every single time. You might not even do the right thing every single time. You might be clumsy, awkward and embarrassed. But just think, even superstars like Rihanna and Fergie have had embarrassing situations. Fergie peed on stage for goodness sakes!
And if you’re thinking ‘But such-and-such that I keep trying to impress doesn’t have any flaws!’, think again. Everyone has flaws. They just may not be visible to you. Or, the person you admire might be trying to impress you. Ever thought of that?
Do you feel like the only way to impress other people is to boast about your accomplishments? Or regale them with stories of your success? If so, this point is for you. And it’s accompanied by a very important note:
Nobody likes a boaster.
Think about it, how do you feel when your friend starts blathering on about yet another one of their accomplishments, or the cool car they just bought or the guy that said she was so beautiful/sexy/irresistible?
If they’re the type of person that never boasts and instead just relays the truth, then you’ll probably be happy for them. Because their success is your success.
But if they are the type of person that always seems to want to one-up you and gets a gleam in their eye when they tell you about their latest conquest, then you’re going to get a little frustrated. Perhaps even angry. And if this behavior continues, you’ll probably start to distance yourself from them.
Because nobody likes a boaster.
The very last thing you feel when someone boasts endlessly is impressed. So why would you adopt this tactic to impress others?
Think about the people in your life that you most look up to and respect. What characteristics and traits do they share? Are they humble? Supportive? Inspiring? Likely, they will be all of these things. They’ll probably also have an IDC hat that is part of their daily wardrobe.
What is an IDC hat? Well, it’s that invisible hat you put on to remind yourself that I Don’t Care. That you don’t care what others think of you and even what they say about you, either to your face or behind your back. None of these things matter. All that matters is how you feel about yourself and while you know your flaws inside out, you also know that you’re pretty awesome too. So why should it matter what others say and think about you?
A lot of the times, the people that we naturally respect are those without an ego and those without the urge to impress others. They don’t try hard to make you like them, but they’re likable. They don’t try hard to make you respect them, but you do respect them. And they don’t try hard to impress you, but somehow you end up being impressed by them anyway.
They are, my darlings, authentic. Unforgivably themselves. And that, rather than anything else we can dream up, is what we should aspire to be.
As Dr. Seuss said:
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
If you take all of this advice on board, along with a dash of self-awareness, a dollop of self-belief and a good serving of self-respect, then you will be unstoppable.
Because you are perfect just as you are. You don’t need to try to impress anyone. You are impressive.
Now go out into the world and sparkle.
While Cassandra readily admits to being a rampant cupcake aficionada (how could she not be with an almost-brother-in-law that owns not one, but three cupcake shops?) she happily works off her lust of all things sweet and sugary by slogging it out in the gym and outdoors.
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