How often have you seen yourself as a boring, uninteresting person? Do you tend to feel self-conscious, overly shy, or awkward when interacting with people? The self-image of being uninteresting can deepen our isolation and loneliness, while contributing to low self-worth.
What makes us interesting? Is it our net worth, our accomplishments, or impressing people with our jokes or stories? We might make efforts to create an image that some people find appealing. But do we want people to be attracted to our image or to us?
The key to being interesting lies with who we are as a person. We’re drawn to people who are real—to those who are comfortable showing their authentic self. We bring a deeper quality of aliveness to our relationships as we notice and reveal our true feelings and desires. It’s not what we’ve done with our lives, but simply feeling the life that flows within—being attuned to ourselves and welcoming our moment to moment felt experiencing.
Let’s say we’re on a date and feel a connection. Do we express it or not? If it’s the first date, we might bide our time as we get to know the person. But if we stay frozen in silence and reveal little about ourselves — how we feel about things or how we’re experiencing our time together—our date may conclude that we’re not interested in them… or that we’re not very interesting.
We become more interesting as we learn how to nurture a connection–as we take the risk to expose our fears and reveal our hurts, hopes, and joys. We express what delights our heart, what makes us feel alive, and what keeps us up at night. If we rarely take the risk to reveal ourselves in a way where people can “feel” us as a person, we risk being experienced as boring. Being overly self-protective, we remain isolated.
This is not to say that we should immediately disclose all of our feelings. We don’t want to overwhelm or scare people with sloppy boundaries or make assumptions about how much intimacy they want with us. Our challenge is to stay attuned enough to gauge what we feel safe sharing and what might wait for another day when more trust has grown.
Showing Interest in Others
We become more interesting as we show genuine interest in getting to know a person. I imagine that a person who extends attention to you and listens well becomes interesting to you. It usually feels good when someone is curious about us. Can you extend the gift of listening to others?
Does your attention wander off when you’re with someone? Are you preparing your response or thinking about dinner? Can you allow your mind to become quiet, gently return to the present moment, and be curious about this amazing human being across from you–asking questions and making further inquiries based upon their response? We nurture an alive connection as find a rhythm between revealing our inner experience — and listening to others’ experience.
Relationships can flounder or become boring when we withhold our authentic feelings from each other. Couples often offer their unsolicited analysis, opinions, and criticisms of each other, as if that might change their partner, rather than revealing their feelings and longings.
They might bark out, “You’re selfish and uncaring,” but not disclose the more tender feelings that underly these hurtful judgments. This might be: “I’ve been missing a connected with you. I’m lonely for you. I’m worried that we’re drifting apart and won’t find our way toward each other.”
We become more interesting — creating a climate for an interested and alive connection — when we expose our vulnerable feelings. Hearing your partner say, “You’re so self-absorbed” is likely to push you away. Hearing “I love your company” is more likely to pique our interest and garner a positive response.
Approaches that help us contact our felt experience, such as Focusing (Gendlin), can help us connect with what’s alive inside us. Intimacy grows by sharing our experience with each other and listening non-judgmentally. We need to be mindful of what we’re experiencing and find the courage to reveal it to selected people.
Being Interested in Life
A key to sustaining intimate, nurturing relationships is to not be so interested in being interesting, but rather pursuing a path where life becomes interesting to us. What nourishes us, enlivens us, and expands us? Are we following our interests in music, art, dance, nature, walking, exercise, gardening, yoga, meditation, or whatever helps us feel more alive? Are we moving toward living a mindful, connected life or are we going through the motions — living what psychologist Tara Brach calls a “trance of unworthiness.”
As we become more engaged with life, we live with more meaning and poignancy. We take ourselves less seriously and enjoy moments of humor and laughter. We share our experience with more spontaneity and less shame and self-consciousness.
We become more interesting as we become interested — in people, in life, and also in ourselves. We’re interested in growing and creating a life where we can live with more love and joy in our heart. This is the honey that attracts people toward us.
Please remember to be gentle with yourself. All of this takes practice. We don’t have to do life perfectly. Relaxing and being yourself is enough…and see what comes your way.
© John Amodeo