I realised this week that I really, really don’t like being in the spotlight. I’m not talking hostile interrogation, actually kindly attention — and even attention that I’ve invited. But I find it almost unbearable.
A private session recently with my yoga teacher, whom I should know well enough to feel comfortable with, induced a state of nervous breath-holding tension.
A consultation with a dietician where she reviewed my food diary felt agonisingly personal and intrusive.
Even a girly catchup with an old and very dear friend who wanted to hear about my news saw me trying to deflect attention back to her at every possible turn.
If there’s a balance between modesty and narcissism, between shyness and show-offness, I’m not finding it. I thought the ego was supposed to love attention..? Mine clearly loves attention only from me.
Then it occurred to me that actually it’s the very kindliness of this attention that’s the issue for me. Perversely! I’m more used to something more direct, judgmental, and almost aggressive. I’ve always worked in challenging and competitive environments (and I’m a younger sibling) so I’m great at squaring up and going on the defensive or, if needed, the attack.
Kindly attention is disarming in its gentleness. Am I ready to be disarmed?
image source: http://www.blog.parkdeanholidays.co.uk/regional-news/scotland-magnifying-glass-pt-2; http://hipandhealthy.com/fighting-spirit-trial-boxing-yoga/