"But enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?"
- CC Bloom, Beaches
That is one of the all time classic lines from the movie "Beaches" starring Bette Midler. It's a line I can relate to and I'm super glad about that. (Keep reading to find out why.)
But first let me ask you…
Have you ever had someone in your life who redirects the conversation to themselves, no matter what the topic?
Or someone that is so super self-focused that they don’t consider others’ feelings or thoughts?
Or someone who is always "one-upping" you?
If you answered, "yes" then you've experienced the "Look At Me" syndrome. (OK, so that's not a real syndrome, as I'm sure you already knew, but it should be.)
And when it comes to this syndrome, it's important to recognize not just the syndrome itself, but the symptoms. Symptoms like…
Growing up with a CC Bloom and having a few in my life now, I've come to realize one thing…
It's not the CC Blooms of the world that are the problem. It's how I allow them to make me feel and how I deal with them that is.
RECENT INFECTION WITH THE "LOOK AT ME" SYNDROME
Just recently I was at a function when I bumped into a CC Bloom. Normally this particular CC Bloom doesn't bother me, but I was tired and low in energy so this time my buttons got pushed in a major way. As a result I became curt with the person and even judge-y
I'm not going to make excuses or even give myself a pass. My reaction sucked. To be curt and judge-y…a) that's not who I am at my core and b) that's not who I want to be. I was WAAAAYYYYY out of integrity with myself. And that's a BIG HUGE "No bueno!"
This is why I'm super glad I can relate to the line from Beaches…because of my own experiences (especially the one I just shared) I've come up with some strategies for inoculating myself. Strategies that I'd love to share with you.
But please remember, if anything I'm about to offer doesn't sound doable to you, don't force it to work. Feel free to tweak or disregard instead.
WAYS TO INOCULATE
Don't take anything personally. If you have ever read the book The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)by Don Miguel Ruiz you'll be familiar with this strategy. I'm not going to lie, this strategy can be difficult, but it's one of the best strategies ever.
The CC Blooms in our lives aren't doing or saying things because of us. They're doing or saying things because of how they feel about themselves. Maybe they're feeling insecure or not good enough and in need of validation. (Hence the "look at me"!)
If we make their inadequate feelings all about us, then we're just taking on those feelings. Or as Don Miguel says, we're eating their emotional garbage and making it our emotional garbage.
So when we're in a situation where we start to feel the pang of any of the symptoms above it helps to remember…it's not personal.
Keep expectations low…low…low…low. Expecting a CC Bloom to stop the "look at me" behavior, particularly if they're not aware of it, is tantamount to expecting a zebra to change its stripes to spots. (No, I'm not saying the person can't change, because they can.)
But here's the thing about expecting others to act in certain ways…we only set ourselves up for disappointment. The bottom line; we don't have control over what other people do. We do, however, have control over what we allow or don't allow, how we respond or react, how we feel, how we act, and our own expectations of ourselves.
When it comes to the CC Blooms in the world, if we lower our expectations by not expecting them to behave any differently…
We won't be disappointed if they engage in "look at me" behavior AND
We go into any exchange prepared and ready not to take it personally OR BEST CASE SCENARIO…
We're positively surprised if they engage in different behavior.
Amp up the energy. When we are full of energy and feeling rested, we are better able to deal with CC Blooms in a proactive and constructive way. Making sure to get plenty of rest or practicing some form of self-care is an awesome way to prepare for an "encounter" with a CC Bloom.
THE NEXT TIME
At the end of the day, there are always going to be CC Blooms. The next time I encounter one, I'm going to take a deep breath and remember, it's not personal. And then I'm going to think about my own integrity and come from that place instead.
How are you going to deal with CC Blooms in your world? I'd love to hear from you!