A few years back Craig and I sort of crashed a grand opening party for a gold mine he was working at as a contract electrician. We showed up and immediately I noticed that the event was pretty swanky. There were women in beautiful dresses and men in expensive shirts and ties. There Craig and I stood, he in his best jeans and me in my classiest capris. Mr. and Mrs. Fashion Disaster.
My first reaction was to run back to the car and pretend we were never there. Mortification does not begin to describe how I was feeling. I skulked through the room, hoping we could somehow find a table of equally awkward individuals to join. No such luck.
Somehow these situations don’t bother Craig nearly as much as they bother me. Impressing people is not what he’s about. He doesn’t care what anybody else is wearing, so why would anyone think less of him for being a bit more casual than the dress code?
We don’t love people by trying to impress them. Our accomplishments, clothes, cars, and money all amount to very little when it comes to making connections with others.
Don’t try to make an impression with your possessions.
We used to play poker (oh ya that’s right, my past is a little shady) with a guy whose idea of stimulating conversation was to tell us how much he paid for his new guitar, boots, leather couch. You name it, he paid way too much for it. Not only that but he had a story to one up yours every time.
“Remember that time I jumped off a 12 meter platform and screamed my head off?”
“Oh ya well I jumped out of a helicopter, landed on a unicorn, flew the unicorn into the middle of a quiddich game at Hogwarts and took out team Slytherin. Wanna see my snitch?”
Insert several “Oh brothers” and even more eye rolls here.
Not feeling impressed or loved in his company.
Loving people is not overshadowing them. Your thoughts and opinions are yours and you are free to give them, but I do not recommend blasting them on people you want to help (or anyone else for that matter).
The eloquence of our words, or the grandeur of our deeds is not a measure of how powerful our love is for another person.
Someone deep in the trenches of heartbreak and fear can feel loved in the silence of just knowing that there is someone beside them. In the midst of grief and tragedy there are sometimes no words, only tears to be shed side by side.
In the throws of someone else’s celebration whoop it up, for that person (or those people). Save the spotlight for them. Your time will come and you will want others to do the same for you.
Wisdom and advice should be given with permission. If you don’t have that permission then ask for it.
“I have some thoughts about what you’ve said. Would you like to hear them?”
As I tell my 4 year old, “You can ask, but be OK if the other person says no.”
A second part of not trying to impress someone is to take away the wall you’ve built around yourself. Or at least knock some windows and a door into it to let others in.
In her book Rising Strong Brene’ Brown tells a story of how her Grandmother used to feed “hobos” who would jump from the train near her house. Brown goes on to explain that her grandmother was so generous with her cooking because she was also really good at accepting other people’s help. Her grandmother loved gifts and would get really excited about folks dropping off garden produce or a homemade pie to her. She didn’t feel unworthy of accepting other people’s kindness.
In order to love others we need to let them reciprocate our love back. We need to take off our masks, get down from our high horses and let other people love on us as well.
I don’t have a single friend that I think has it all together and I certainly hope nobody thinks I do either.
It would be extremely hard to have strong connections with perfect people.
Impressing others is not the way to lasting deep relationship. It’s a cover up for the real you that’s hiding deep down. It’s time to take off the the cover. We are worthy of love.