One of the key messages that I took from Amy Cuddy’s fantastic book, ‘Presence’, was this:
that when people feel powerless, they react quickly, immediately even, whereas when people feel powerful, they feel able to react slowly.
I’m often quick to react, especially in situations where I do feel anxiety, powerlessness, self-doubt or I’m simply stuck in a habitual routine whereby I find myself lacking confidence.
If Mr. G criticises me, I’m quick to be defensive and lash out. If I’m at the supermarket, I’m quick to throw things into my trolley and pay, rather than hold up a stranger behind me. If I’m hungry, I’m quick to grab something unhealthy, only to beat myself up later.
Discomfort, for me, has historically led to quick (and poor) reactions and choices.
But DOWN with that. Because it’s getting me nowhere, and I’m determined to act out confidence and powerfulness, whether I feel it on the day or not.
So when I’m driving and I sense someone is close behind me, I’m resisting the urge to speed up.
When I’m at Asda, throwing my produce around to get to my purse, fearful of making the cashier and other customers wait, I’m taking a little more time and being less chaotic; I’m remembering that I am a paying customer and it’s my right godammit to have enough time to put things into my bag!
And when I’m being ‘criticised’, or feeling vulnerable, I’m trying to spend a few moments mindfully listening to my body, thoughts and breath, before I speak.
Yes, it’s a little awkward. As is anything that is the opposite of the habits usually practised.
But every time I do it, I feel a little tingle of self-worth, like I’m doing something wonderfully naughty:
“Look. Those people just had to stand and wait whilst I put my shopping away!”
Ahhh… it’s the small things that count.