Thursday, May 8, 2014

Second-Guessing My First Impression

I think we are all our own worst critics.  Second-guessing oneself is such a hard thing not to engage in and often it becomes difficult to clearly assess our actions because we cannot see ourselves as well as others do. We have too much floating inside our heads that obscures the view.  Thoughts whisper that this could have been stated better or that could have gone more smoothly. The whispers increase in volume until all one hears is the criticism and none of the truth. Second-guessing sucks and it really holds no true value or benefit for a person. It doesn't motivate oneself to do better, it just causes excessive worry over things outside of one's control and tears down one's self esteem.

I sincerely wish that I could correctly gauge my performance in interacting with other people.  Speaking with people is purely subjective.  How I see myself when engaging with others isn't how they view me.  They form their own opinions based on their reactions to what I say and do, and all of it is personal. There are no benchmarks and standards to hit, no discrete objectives to definitely accomplish in conversing and interacting with others. Sometimes I desperately wish there were.

I remember performing clarinet solos and being nervous about performing in front of judges. I wanted to come across as poised, skilled, and confident. The good thing about sharing a skill, however is that I knew if I played each note correctly, kept time accurately, and did what I was supposed to do, I could accurately discern what my score would be and what kind of impression I had made on the judges.  Engaging with people has no objective standards as such, so it is much more open to interpretation and self-criticism.

The best thing I can do when trying to assess the impression I make upon other people is to not think about it.  It is over and done with and how others perceive me is beyond my control.  The proverbial milk has already been spilled and how others react to it is up to them.  It is out of my  hands and there is no sense in worrying about what has already happened, second-guessing one's actions, or even attempting to interpret what another person thinks.  It wastes emotional and mental energy that could be best put to use elsewhere and only creates a fertile breeding ground for self-doubt and negative self-talk. So I'm just letting it all go.  It is what it is and what is done is done. I am not going give space in my head to over-analysis and rethinking.

Besides, as long as I am honest in my presentation of self, genuine and sincere in my thought and behavior, and being authentically me, there is no room for second-guessing my first impression.

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