This is the third post in a series about how fear affects you, your Stand, your Mirror Work, your progress… you get it. I wanted to briefly review why this is important. Acknowledging a problem is often the first step toward resolving it. You may know you are afraid in a well of course I’m afraid, how am I going to pay my bills and feed my kids on a single income sort of way. But I’ve talked about identifying some of the behaviors that may have a direct affect on your relationship with others and I’m hoping that you come to realize that a lot of your fears are about not accepting the process of MLC. In the last post I talked about my husband Chuck and how my confidence and stability (as a Stander) attracted Chuck and yet they did not stop his midlife crisis—and I did not expect it too because I accepted the process of midlife crisis.
Slouching and Fidgeting
This is often a subconscious attempt to hide or make yourself smaller and less noticeable. You don’t want to attract attention to yourself. The challenge for you may be that you’re trying to limit contact and communication with your MLCer and perhaps this is your way of signaling that you aren’t open to communicate when you’re in visual contact with each other. Maybe you just want to sneak past your MLCer who’s visiting the kids so that he won’t try and start a conversation with you. I get it.
What is the fear in this situation?
Are you afraid that you won’t be able to resist if they start a conversation? Or maybe you’re afraid they’ll attempt to start a negative interaction and you want to avoid that? Maybe you don’t trust yourself not to go-off on a rant and speak your mind. Or maybe you just don’t want your MLCer to see you when you aren’t healed and detached enough to appear strong and together.
All interactions are opportunities to practice communication skills and diffusing conflict. Avoiding is understandable and yet please understand that there’s a level between detached and attached where you’re getting stronger and it’s okay to show this to your MLCer; this practice can even help you progress toward detachment.
If your MLCer has stops by to spend time with the kids and you feel you shouldn’t be there, when sneaking past, stand tall, make eye contact and smile and say see you later. Then leave quickly. If you want to show you’re in a hurry, add that you’re running late or that you’ve gotta go. This will send the message that you’re leaving for something specific rather than as an excuse to get away—even if that’s the real reason you’re leaving.
Avoiding Eye Contact
We may communicate with our eyes, but what we say goes deeper than what’s deliberate. We show that we care and that we’re tuned in through the attentiveness we show when we make eye contact, we show our emotions through how and when we hold our gaze, where we point our gaze and how our facial muscles move with our eyes. Consider how others interpret our feelings toward them when we make eye contact with them versus how they may feel when we avert our gaze by looking downward. How do they think we feel about ourselves? Making eye contact can show that you care enough to pay attention and that you’re confident—that you believe in yourself, whereas looking downward is indicative of insecurity and someone may think you’re being dismissive or that you’re too scared to be able to care about what they say—that your fear comes first and is thus in control.
Eye contact also enables the building of intimacy—think about the connection and meaning of when two eyes meet across a crowded room. Making eye contact along with silent communication not only allows us to see or know what someone might be feeling, but to also share in those feelings and emotions; it enables empathy.
Body Language and Self-Perception
How do standing tall (not slouching), natural hand mannerisms and feet (not fidgeting), smiling and eye contact change your perception of yourself? Can faking it help you make it? Definitely. This may be simple and function the same way a new haircut and nice clothes works to erode fear and boost confidence, but it’s also biochemical. Standing tall increases testosterone and lowers cortisol—think of this as a direct fear blaster and empowerment booster. Non-threatening eye contact stimulates the vagus nerve to signal the adrenal glands to decrease the release of adrenaline and maintain a steady heart rate, calming you in a situation where you may have been anxious or nervo3us. But if you don’t do those things, you can’t reap their benefits and instead you can reap the detriments that come with not calming yourself when fear is taking over.
Being confident is an attractive force. That doesn’t mean your MLCer will stop the affair and come home immediately or ever. They have a crisis of their own to go through! Your level of strength may bring them home before they’re ready, but not for long—they’re likely to leave again and again until you’re both ready. This means you’ll have a long time to build and then prove your strength!
Chuck wanted to be around me through most of his crisis—serious Clinging Boomerang! Had I let fear be my master and enable uncertainties of myself, him and us, he may have still been a Clinging Boomerang, but we may not have been successful or perhaps his MLC journey and my healing journey would have taken a lot longer than they did.
I had good and bad days, but even amidst the bad I accepted them and chose joy. I also adhered to my mindfulness practices—daily quiet time often as both prayer and meditation and an exercise regimen. Positive attitudes are confident attitudes and both enable joy. I know it’s hard—you’ve been left by your mate and replaced with an affair down and your MLCer monsters their new hatred at you. Happiness is something that happens, but joy is a conscious choice and effort, make choosing it a daily practice.
What are you going to do today to choose joy in your life, boost your confidence and become an attractive force—not just for your MLCer, but most importantly for you?