We all feel self-conscious and overly sensitive sometimes. In fact, it’s becoming so much more of an issue in this modern, competitive and fragile-ego, attachment-to-perfectionism based world, that it recently led comedian and author Ben Elton to suggest that many of the cult classic comedies he co-wrote back in the 80s (such as Black Adder and The Young Ones) probably wouldn’t work these days because overall, our sense of humour seems to have dried up! Whether you agree or disagree, hyper-sensitivity and how it presents as a dynamic is something that tends to create a profound sense of awkwardness and discomfort amongst groups of people. When we are prickly and take ourselves too seriously, the ability to connect with others on an authentic level is severely diminished. That’s a shame because connection and acceptance are two things we desire most as humans.
A few weeks ago when we were away, my 10 year old told me that his board shorts were giving him a leg rash and could he swim in his undies (which were underneath). Of course I didn’t care, but suddenly, he looked around nervously as if to change his mind in case it wasn’t cool. I asked him if he had noticed anyone in particular on the beach that he didn’t know. He said no. I pointed out a few people to see if he had taken a deep interest in anyone. Again, no. In fact, I doubt he’d even noticed there were other people on the beach until that point because he was far too busy enjoying himself and getting on with his own thing! I told him that all those people pretty much felt exactly the same way. They had barely looked at us and certainly had very little interest in what we were wearing or doing particularly. I’m happy to report that it was a light bulb moment for him and he looked around, laughed and was then quite happy then to continue swimming in his undies.
This stuff is of course, an issue of ego; overwhelming thoughts that we are quite important to strangers. The sense that people we don’t really know are always watching and thinking about us and are interested in what we look like, what we are doing, or what we are wearing. Sadly, the truth is that most people are far too caught up in their own head, life or moment to pay anyone else they don’t know any attention whatsoever! It’s why pickpockets can pick pockets and magicians can trick us right under our noses.
So, if self-consciousness is the kind of thing that plagues you during life, yoga or any other type of activity you enjoy and/has has stopped you from joining in, or simply creates thoughts of lack or unworthiness, then please remember to peel that mindset back a little. Also remember that Yoga is for our mind, before it’s for our body and these are exactly the kind of thought/egoic/habitual patterns we are seeking to challenge and break down. Letting go of this stuff and channelling our inner “goof-ball “makes for a lighter and happier existence. Simply put, imagine if everyone in the world was suddenly self-conscious? Where are the comedians? The musicians? The dancers? The actors? Wow, what a boring world that would be…!
Something to ponder.
(Image of Black Adder, Rowan Atkinson borrowed from the net)