Have you ever spent some time with a group of new people and left feeling that you had made a bad impression? Sometimes that is an illusion (you were fine) and those who worry about such things rarely do annoy others. Unless….the motive is wrong. I’ve fallen into that trap. We call it being “self conscious.” When I would act that way, friends would say “Stop being so self conscious!” That, of course, just made it worse. It’s like being told to “ignore the color blue” which makes blue pop out everywhere.
The solution is to be “other conscious.” Enter a room full of new people determined to notice and care about them. Make sure they are the life of the party (or at least the life of yours) and the irony is that you will be the one whom everyone remembers fondly. A determination to dominate and project your own personality, to gain a few moments of the spotlight, will almost certainly exasperate your competitors. They wanted the spotlight! Don’t compete. Except for affirmations and kind words, keep quiet.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;
I am a speaker by trade and no one ever said I was “slow to speak.” I had knowledge, maybe even wisdom, and others needed to hear me. “Line up over there. One at a time. Don’t shove. I have opinions aplenty for all about any subject.” Sigh…what a shock it has been to learn that it never has been about me. No one told me. I didn’t know. To be honest, I didn’t care to know.
Quick to hear….”I’ve got some time. Tell me what is on your mind?”
Slow to speak….”No, go ahead. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
It has been my theory that the most influential among us is the person sitting quietly, nodding their head, listening to someone else with a smile. It is now my goal to find the people who are other conscious and listen to them.