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Self-Image: Being Seen and The Feldenkrais Method

November 8, 2012

A student came to my class for the first time and during our visit before the class started she shared with me her background, her teachers, how she knew she wanted to come to class, and what she hoped to gain from it. As she was telling the story, I listened and later reflected on how each of us brings ourselves to a class, a gathering, or an event.

For years I’ve listened to student stories and reflected on my own and at some point, I started watching other teacher-student interactions. As a student, there’s a subservience about it, a one-down, lesser-than role. It’s subtle and hard to notice; good teachers will let you feel okay about yourself. Every student wants reassurance they are okay, as if I’m okay, then I’m likely to return to class again, and then again.

And, here’s the crux. Most of us will put ourselves into situations where we feel understood. Thus, it’s so important for us to match with a teacher. If you can, avoid situations where you feel the need to impress anyone. It’s also a good idea to know your style and whether you are a student who wants to teach the teacher because you have more information than she does or whether you’re content to listen and soak in the information. Notice whether you like to process things verbally or whether you need the silence to take in the information and process it internally.

There are the layers upon layers of complexity. If I want to be seen as good, I want to know you see me and it’s important that I know you know that I see myself a certain way and that I need to be seen by you in a certain way. You see, we can make ourselves dizzy with too much of this.

Bottom line, when you feel yourself with a quickening heart rate, when you find yourself unable to settle in your thoughts, when you feel unsure and your palms get sweaty, it’s very likely you are not fitting in the way you’d like to be. In that moment, you can observe whether there is something that would help you feel more comfortable? Something you can do for yourself, not something you’ll access from outside yourself such as food, drink, or distraction.

Sit there for a moment, track your motive. See if you are hoping to be seen as good enough? Watch whether you can let yourself be yourself and let that be enough? Notice whether you’d rather the teacher confirm it for you?

I’m fascinated that in some manner, most of us share this need to be seen. And, if we’re not certain how we go about that, we can dig down and excavate to get to the crux of the matter. It’s not whether we want to be seen, it’s how we go about getting seen. We are all hoping to be noted for who we are, even when we behave as if we’d rather not.  

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2 Comments
  1. This was exactly what I needed to hear today, Kim. Your gentle nature and clear thought are pulling me out of a dead-end, anxiety-fueled funk. Thank you for your words.

    • Hey, my pleasure. I never tire of talking about how we bring ourselves into relationships and I’m so glad to know it’s of use. Hope you are doing well.

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