Yanking Your Ugly Self Back

       By: Lynne Schlumpf
Posted: 2007-10-20 15:27:00
One of the worst feelings in the world is when you are talking to someone, just having a dialogue when suddenly it falls apart. The subject could be anything you're both interested in. The conversation turns. You probably know the feeling. Your first reaction is you want to go back to where the conversation was great. It's as if you're suddenly propelled to a space above the both of you. Looking down, you're incredulous.Thinking to yourself, "Now, how in the world did we both get to this? How did it suddenly turn ugly?"You realize the conversation is no longer enjoyable. No longer something you want to continue.The feeling in the pit of your stomach tells you something has changed. You can feel it in yourself, as if you've torn off one face to replace it with your "other face." And if you look really closely at the other person's face, you can see it turn dark at that moment. As if a shadow just crossed it. And you've lost them. Lost that moment where you both felt free to be yourselves. Felt relaxed.You can never presume to know why the other person went there, but you can usually figure out why you did. If you step back and watch from afar - as if you were someone else looking in - you'll see that it was a point at which "ego" stepped in and replaced you.You started believing those little voices in your head that told you this person had crossed some unforgivable line. They probably didn't do any such thing. It's just that your ego loves confrontation. Loves to compete with others. Be antagonistic for absolutely no freaking reason WHATSOEVER.We all have relationships with people (hopefully) with whom we can have a relaxed conversation without feeling threatened. But for some people, life is a constant "one-up" contest - a constant threat. Every conversation, no matter how innocent or small, is a threat to their bruised ego.In the movie "Peaceful Warrior," the main character has decided to climb the bell tower at school and throw himself off. The thought of never being able to compete in gymnastics again because of a shattered leg has taken him to the depths of his own hell. Suddenly, he looks up to find he is facing himself and himself (his ego) is trying to pull him off the ledge and over the side. He resists. This self has a wild look in its eyes and is trying to force him to kill himself. Telling him how much he wants to jump.Suddenly, Dan (the character) grabs the ego self by the collar and shouts, "It's you, isn't it???!!!! It's you I'm supposed to be getting rid of, isn't it?" The ego self just scoffs at him. So Dan pushes the ego self off the ledge and watches as it falls to the ground. He then climbs down and is able to live a happy life, where anything he dreams of is possible (with a lot of work, of course).Symbolic of what is necessary to save a conversation like the one I was just describing. Imagine yourself grabbing your ego self by the collar and shoving him/her out of the conversation completely.See then how the conversation goes after that. Then tell me how it went.Lynne Schlumpf is the author of "The Little Website That Could" and "Afternoons Off", both published in 2000 and 2001. She offers the full text of "The Little Website That Could" book (all 456 pages of it) on her blog for anyone to read at: http://www.alaskainmydreams.com/blogLynne now lives in Alaska and is a filmmaker of Alaska films for the world to enjoy. Her main website has movies, artwork, a travel log, and photos at http://www.alaskainmydreams.com
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