And we can relate! Nearly everyone has had a time when they felt unsettled walking into a new environment at work or at school or as we married into a new family. Recently, I read a very helpful tip in an article by self-help guru Martha Beck, that changed the way I think about walking into a room. She quotes advice from spiritual teacher Byron Katie, “When I walk into a room, I know that everyone in it loves me. I just don’t expect them to realize it yet.” Offering her own spin on this idea in her article, Beck elaborated, “I’m by no means certain that everyone in every room loves me, but I’ve found that pretending they do works nicely….”
Most of us walk into a room or a new setting and immediately glance around to see if there are any friendly faces there or anything that makes the environment more familiar. Without realizing it, we probably have our defenses up and our face might look guarded and unsure. We project this image to those already in the room and it certainly doesn’t do a lot towards creating a friendly and approachable atmosphere!
But what if we try this new approach? Whether you are a student, a teacher or a parent, what if you entered that classroom knowing, without a doubt, that everyone in there was crazy about you? How would you act and move and behave differently? You might have a wide smile on your face, walk confidently in, and happily start a conversation with someone you don’t even know. (After all, they love you completely, don’t they?)
The interesting thing about this approach is that not only will you feel more at ease, but you will light up the room with your good cheer instead of adding to any feeling of unease that might be lingering there.
I’ll definitely be sharing this idea with my kids at the dinner table this weekend and can't wait to hear how it works. Soon, this new approach will be like the old advice our grandfathers used to give us to “pretend everyone is wearing only their underwear”. It will stick with you and at the very least put a smile on your face when you walk in a room!