Fellow Toastmasters, cherished friends, valued guests and honored viewers, welcome and good afternoon.
I am going to explain why, as simply and briefly as possible, why we care too much. Not about ourselves, which when healthily and respectfully done, can never be done enough. But too much about how our actions MAY have affected those we have been socially involved with.
This taxation, like a venomous scourge across our egos is drug tortuously slow by our own hands, every day in an effort to CONSIDER others. To give those who in all truth often have very little thought for us.
Examples to audience members.
You look lovely today.” Oh crap, maybe she thinks she looks terrible all the other days. Maybe she thought I was coming on to her. I’m married and this is a professional place of business, what is she spreads it around that I’m a playboy?
STOP!!! STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP, RIGHT THERE!!!
Yes, we should ask ourselves questions in retrospect, learning from our experiences. But these are ALL the wrong questions. More appropriately, you should ask yourself if the requirement to yourself, to your own aims and goals were taken care of. Did you get your point across? Did you succeed in presenting yourself assertively and with conviction? Did a friendly smile with honest appraisal and zero leering take place with your proclamation of beauty? Honesty of intention before continuing can save much time and heartache when asked with all due consideration. Crap, she IS in a relationship. Well, at least I’ll know not to go down that road from the start.
Whether you are being puritanically truthful or profoundly manipulative, the time for doubt is not during the action. THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK, a favorite lesson from my dear Father, has held true and saved me much grief in my life. Simply and if at all possible, pause (which can have a great effect in itself) then continue when your thoughts and emotions are collected. Without such foresight, your actions are akin to taking a road trip, with a destination in mind, but not viewing the route first. You may drive down the wrong road, get stuck in the middle of nowhere. When the banjos start playing is not the time to think about what you might have done differently.
But if you find you did something wrong, or said something inaccurate, either choose to immediately make corrections and recompense or let it go and learn from your mistake. Your growth will be shown in either of these cases, and it has been a universal axiom that people do not always accept the truth. They may just not like you. In which case, unless they are of value to you, or have power over your, then they are not worthy of more than a mental footnote and a dusty footlocker in the vast vaults of your mind.
If they have a problem with something, they either have the courage and self-respect to approach you about it, or they are masochists and enjoy the strife it causes in their lives to feel victimized. Some people, no matter how you speak, no matter the words you use or the soft tissue you use to wipe the drivel from their face will always cry all the louder for the attention it may garner them.
You can’t make everyone happy, nor should you try. Too many people around us, ourselves included take too much energy out of our day, mentally and emotionally to worry about other people. Which, being separate from us is a region of existence that we are largely unable to affect. Placing ourselves in constant doubt of what we say, we do, even how we feel and think is not a healthy practice. True, doubt should be applied to anything that which does not serve us, but standing strong for that which brings us life and joy and happiness, most usually NOT other people unless we choose them to be so important.
Your desire to please everyone, care for everyone, be their buddy or friend, will ultimately leave you drained and dry of all passion. Spreading yourself thin, so much bread for too little butter. Be strong and kind to those whom matter, and spare second chances and backward glances for those you wish to be in league with.
And what’s worse, this is all that we are made to believe. We are TOLD by authoritarian figures, religious leaders, members of our management that we should not only be more and more aware of other people so as not to offend them, but in the case of bullies and passive aggressive self-righteous taskmasters, to comply and acquiesce to the request of the moment. Empathy, understanding and thoughtful interaction SHOULD be the requirement of social grace, but not at the expense of our own self worth.
But if you should find yourself lacking in some particular way from past experience, change future instances and be done with it. Grow from the moment and do not dwell upon the niceties that you didn’t, or couldn’t expand upon. One way or another, water will see its own level and settle as it will, the sieve of our minds do not need the further burden of criticizing every interaction, as small and inconsequential as most of them tend to be.
Know your writ and wrote beforehand, choose your disposition and follow through with who you are. You will find, that with all due consideration you are more caring than you give yourself credit for. And most certainly more caring than those who require validation of their own weak and course-less lives would ever understand.