Do you ever see yourself as others see you? Do you ever have moments where you see your behaviour as someone else might see it? Just the outward appearance of things, without all the back story, hopes, fears, decisions, justifications, experience and weaknesses that lead you to that point? To only see the tip of the iceberg, the bit that manifests above sea level. See level, perhaps.
Sometimes I get those moments and they can be quite sobering. Sure that's me, my words and my actions, but that's not the full picture. There's a story behind it. There's a prologue, footnotes and a glossary that needs to be read before you really understand the sentence.
I see the way I can behave when rattled, when feeling that things might not be going right and there must be something, anything, I can do to stop it. To fix it. To make sure that things really are alright. The slightly crazed manic edge, the one that endlessly asks "Are things ok? Is it ok? Are you ok?" but is really asking "Am I ok? Do you think I'm ok?"
Gah. Even I find it exhausting and irritating, and its my behaviour we're talking about here. All that energy seeking validation.
I don't want to overstate the issue, we're talking about occasional behaviours here. One thing I am not is a gibbering validation seeking missile. I'm talking about the moments when you hear the words as they leave your mouth and you go "Oh, shit. Here we go again with the same old song. Why did I say that, rather than just keeping my big mouth shut?"
Anyhoo, seeing a problem is the first step in understanding and then solving a problem. The ruthless exploration of my own mind, and all the many lessons I've learned through Buddhism about mind delusions, about how destructive the stories we tell ourselves can be, have both helped and made the behaviour more noticeable to me.
Partly we're talking about confidence here, about not getting paranoid, about not expecting worst case scenarios, about not applying the Doom Filter and learning to just basically chill the fuck out for Chrissakes.