Image/Essence-Disconnect Anxiety

anxietyOne of the more interesting things about life is that very few people will come to understand your essence. Most people you encounter in life will, due to disinterest or a lack of perception, never get past your image.

This fact is disturbing to some. Let’s call it image/essence-disconnect anxiety. This anxiety causes some to spend considerable time in perpetual damage-control. Whenever a distorted social image emerges that is uncomfortably inconsistent with one’s essence, some employ all the resources at their disposal to reshape their image back into what they perceive their essence to be or what they would like it to be.

This very act, however, betrays an essence that is overly-concerned with social acceptance and reflects an insecurity that would be best jettisoned. People will talk, and talk about you. There is not much you can effectively do about it.

However, here are a few suggestions.

  • Honestly assess the negative image to determine whether it may actually reflect real defects in essence. Change if necessary.
  • Enjoy the image. Recently, for example, I’ve developed a playboy image. Instead of fighting it, I go with it. It often leads to interesting interactions. Life is a stage.
  • Focus on adding to your essence the qualities that you value, and excising those you do not. Once the positive qualities have taken root, they will naturally be reflected in your image.
  • Turn the focus on others. Ask others to tell you who they are. Giving them the opportunity to unveil their own essence will say a lot about your own.
  • Smile. They’ll have to categorize you as either kind or crazy. There are far more negative categories associated with scowls.

And should your image, in spite of your best efforts, take a turn for the worse, learn to appreciate those genuine friends who stick with you.

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