I was doing a session this week with a client on the MindBody retreat and as we were spending time delving into attachment, vulnerability, basic human needs, and a bunch of other topics; it became very clear to me that projecting an image of what you want others to think of you is not only energy consuming, but it erodes your authenticity and therefore LIKEABILITY. Not so cool…
Have you ever had (or still have) a Facebook ‘friend’ who always posts about how fabulous their life is? How fabulous their relationship is. How fabulous their holidays are. How happy they are (all the time). And even how great their pets, children, job, etc., etc., etc. are.
What are your real thoughts when you read their stuff? Not the stuff you ‘like’ or the comments you post on Facebook; but what you really think.
Do the words ‘phoney’ ever come to mind?
I might sound like a bit of cynic, but I am yet to coach anyone, or meet anyone, myself included, who has their sh_t together 24/7. All our lives are a little messy. None of us have got it all together, all the time. And the energy it takes to PROJECT that image is not only tiring, but it is likely to have people think LESS of you.
Apparently we live in a material world
I not sure about you, but I think there are one or two magazines out there, television commercials, and a truck load of random marketing messages poking us in the eyes that are telling us unless we are perfect – like the photoshopped super model in the advertisement – then something is wrong with us … and here is the perfect product to fix you (which just happens to be on special this week and will only cost you $199). What crap!
The unfortunate thing this does for many people, is have them think there is something wrong or missing in them, so they feel they can’t show up as who they are (imperfect like the rest of us) but need to show up as someone who is seen to have it all together. Which for the record is no one. We all have doubts, fears, issues, self loathing, anger, frustration, worry (and more) some of the time. It’s called ‘being human’.
The real cost of projecting
The biggest thing that is lost when we are projecting (apart from a LOT of energy which we could be putting into better things)is our sense of AUTHENTICITY. People feel it. They may not be able to put their finger on why they feel the way they do about someone. But at some level, something feels off. Causing them to be sort of repelled by the person. Or creating an unseen barrier. Or making the person less LIKEABLE.
And let’s face it. We all liked to be liked. Our desire for connection with others, is a basic and necessary human need.
So what to do?
The antidote to projection and how to become more likeable
Firstly, let go of perfectionism and thinking that people expect and want you to be perfect. Wrong answer. They actually want you to be like them. Normal and imperfect.
Be ok with your faults and foibles.
Let people know when you haven’t got it all together and that you would actually like a hand.
Step courageously into this thing called VULNERABILITY. (If you haven’t seen Brene Brown’s TEDx talk on vulnerability I would suggest you check that out)
When you are more honest, more open, more truthful, more vulnerable, and stop the projecting of who you think people want you to be, you are more LIKEABLE. Authenticity is attractive to everyone.
So show up as who you are. With your imperfections. With your doubts, worries and fears.
Show up as your authentic best self, and we will LOVE you all the more for it!