In all honesty, I find being approachable to other people just about one of the hardest things to do. Although the days where I used to worry about what other people would think of me are long gone, the old and ingrained habit of shutting myself off from others frequently takes over! Luckily, I recognise the signs and I’m most likely to do something about it!
When people come into our space, or we go into theirs, there are a few things that can happen to you, particularly with people who lack confidence. You might…
- Go quiet and say very little, retreating into yourself hoping that you’ll not be expected to do or say very much.
- Make excuses and leave as quickly as you can.
- Listen and ask lots of questions, in the hope that no one will ask you anything that might reveal something of yourself.
- Sweat, go red, shake – and other symptoms of trying to hold back your fear.
- Some people even go into talk-overdrive mode and just don’t stop talking at all.
Whatever the case, it’s really unpleasant and it’s really hard to stay present and focused on where you are, plus people aren’t going to find you approachable at all.
Over the years I’ve realised that actually for me, there’s a reluctance to allow people to feel me, that somehow, if I allow myself to open and really show up as myself, that I won’t be accepted or will be perhaps rejected. It’s really nonsense when considered in a logical way, but we’re not really logical people!
I’ve found that sometimes, it’s as simple as reminding yourself that you’re ok and that it’s ok to feel vulnerable around other people. In fact, the only way you really get to show up and be your real, authentic self is to step into that place that feels vulnerable.
Experience teaches me that showing up fully is the same as not being affected by what other people think of you – whether that’s good or bad! In fact, there is a part of you that will try and close down a good experience of this! You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever had that experience where you notice that people are really engaging with you and enjoying your company, then suddenly you feel really self-conscious!
At the end of the day, try to enter into each and every encounter with people with the intention of allowing them to really feel you, to show up and be counted or to give as much of your true self as you can. If you make that a practice and take it steady, you’ll soon find that people describe you as approachable and can’t wait to be in your company.