"The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane - excerpts from the book"
The Charisma Myth: How anyone can master the art and science of personal magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane
p 84 - 85
Self-compassion is how much warmth we can have for ourselves, especially when we're going through a difficult experience.
It's quite possible for people to have high self-confidence but low self-esteem and very low self-compasssion. Like Helen, these people may consider themselves fairly competent, but they don't necessarily like themselves any more for it, and they can be very hard on themselves when they don't succeed.
Recent behavioral science research indicates that it may be healthier to focus on self-compassion than on self-esteem. The former is based on self-acceptance, the latter on self-evaluation and social comparison. Self-esteem is more of a roller coaster, contingent on how believe we compare to others. It also tends to correlate with narcissism.
Individuals who score high on self-compassion scales demonstrate greater emotional resilience to daily difficulties and fewer negative reactions to difficult situations, such as receiving unflattering feedback. Higher self-compassion predicts a greater sense of personal responsibility for the outcome of events: it helps predict levels of accountability. People who score high on self-compassion also have a lower tendency for denial. That makes sense: personal mistakes would generate less self-criticism, so people would be more willing to admit to them.
When they hear the term self-compassion, people often assume it is synonymous with self-indulgence or self-pity. Surprisingly, the opposite is true. Solid behavioral science research shows that the higher one's level of self-compassion, the lower one's level of self-pity. You can think of the difference between the two this way: self-compassion is feeling that what happened to you is unfortunate, whereas self-pity is feeling that what happened to you is unfair. In this way, self-pity can lead to resentment or bitterness, and to feeling more isolated and alienated. In contrast, self-compassion often leads to increased feelings of connectedness.
Self-compassion is what helps us forgive ourselves when we've fallen short; it's what prevents internal criticism from taking over and playing across our face, ruining our charisma potential. In this way, self-compassion is critical to emanating warmth.
Interestingly, self-compassion can also help you emanate greater self-confidence.
p 86 - 87
Kristin Neff, one of compassion's foremost researchers, defines self-compassion as a three-step process: First, realizing that we're experiencing difficulties. Second, responding with kindness and understanding toward ourselves when we are suffering or feel inadequate, rather than being harshly self-critical. Third, realizing that whatever we're going through is commonly experienced by all human beings, and remembering that everyone goes through difficult times.
When things go wrong in our lives, it's easy to feel that other people are having an easier time. Recognizing instead that everyone at some point has had or will have the very experience you're having now can help you feel like part of the larger human experience rather than feeling isolated and alienated.
When our inner critic starts pointing out our misdeeds and imperfections, it will often make us feel that everyone else is doing better, that we're the only ones who are this flawed. Self-criticism is much stronger when our suffering seems due to our own perceived failures and inadequacies than when it seems due to external circumstances. This is when self-compassion is the most precious.
How does one go about cultivating self-compassion? The good news is that intention is the most crucial component of treating yourself kindly.
p 130 - 131
Once you have the right mindset, how do you ensure the right behaviors? Effective listening means behaving in a way that makes whomever you're speaking with feel truly understood.
Good listeners know never, ever to interrupt - not even if the impulse to do so comes from excitement about something the other person just said. No matter how congratulatory and warm your input, it will always result in their feeling at least a twinge of resentment or frustration at not having been allowed to complete their sentence. One of my clients told me: "This one practice alone is worth its weight in gold. To stop interrupting others could be the single most important skill I've learned from working with you."
Great listeners know to let others interrupt them. When someone interrupts you, let them! Were they right to interrupt you? Of course not. But even if they were wrong, it's not worth making them feel wrong; your job instead is to make them feel right. In fact, if you notice the other person repeatedly agitating to speak, keep your sentences short and leave frequent pauses for them to jump in.
People really do love to hear themselves talk. The more you let them speak, the more they will like you....
Master listeners know one extra trick, one simple but extraordinarily effective habit that will make people feel truly listened to and understood: they pause before they answer.....
When someone has spoken, see if you can let your facial expression react first, showing that you're absorbing what they've just said and giving their brilliant statement the consideration it deserves. Only then, after about two seconds, do you answer. The sequence goes like this:
- They finish their sentence - Your face absorbs - Your face reacts - Then, and only then, you answer
Now, I'm not saying this is easy. It takes confidence to bear silence, both because of the awkwardness you may feel and because of the uncertainty of not knowing what they're thinking during those two seconds. But it's worth it....
Great listening skills will give you presence - the foundation of charisma - and boost any charisma style.
1. "Thanks for posting this, this is informative and good advice" In response to Reply # 0
The info about the benefits of self-compassion versus self-esteem.
I've struggles with assertiveness for much of my life and for much of that time I had a love / hate relationship with self-confidence. When I felt self-confident, many people were put off and when I lacked confidence I didn't perform very well in school and in friendships. Trying to incorporate a concerted effort to show compassion has helped my self-esteem but not because I function better in life, but because I value and appreciate myself, flaws, hang-ups, immaturity and all of the positive aspects of my personality.
The description of the observed benefits strengthens my motivation to deepen my love for myself in healthy ways.
and choosing the right charisma based on your personality (what "fits" you, etc.)
From looking at the table of contents, I'm not sure of how much I would apply most of what the book is offering as it applies to developing a "charisma style" suitable for me, but....the info I extracted from the book for the OP seemed very worthwhile to share with OKP.
Richard B. Joelson DSW, LCSW Richard B. Joelson DSW, LCSW
Moments That Matter
Reacting and Responding
The difference between the two and the impact they have on our lives.
Posted Jan 16, 2018
The distinction between reacting and responding is an important one and one I have emphasized in my psychotherapy and counseling practice. As far as I am concerned, there is a significant—and, at times, very influential—difference between the two. Responding can be defined as showing a favorable reaction. Reacting, on the other hand, means acting in opposition to a force or influence. Let me illustrate what I believe to be the difference and how it affects us in everyday life.
A reaction may occur within the space of seconds. Since it is usually immediate, it is often without any thought or deliberation, and may, therefore, not be the optimal way in which an individual would have liked or preferred to handle a situation. Reactions are, however, normal and expected. Problems arise when the immediacy of a reaction—as opposed to a response—causes interpersonal difficulties for the reacting individual. Reactions are often emotionally charged and, therefore, tend to be problematic, especially when they may be associated with anger. Those things that we all sometimes say that we wish we could take back are probably reactions, rather than responses.
Responses are typically the outcome of thoughtfulness, reflection, and consideration of the relevant factors, and they are often carefully formulated and well-presented. Responses are not usually those things that we “shoot from the hip,” but offer with care, tolerance for differences, and respect for those with whom we interact.
Pamela and Eric have been in couples counseling 10 months and are learning to contain their tendency to react, something that has seriously impaired their relationship, and to respond to each other instead. This has not been easy for two individuals with acknowledged difficulties with anger and impulsivity. In a recent counseling session, Pamela told Eric that she would like the two of them to plan a vacation, the first one in over four years. Eric had an explosive reaction to his wife’s suggestion: “How can you suggest such a dumb thing when you know we’re having financial problems?” He followed this with an emphatic “Absolutely not!” Pamela, not surprisingly, felt attacked and bullied and counterattacked Eric by saying, “It’s your fault that we are having money problems. If you were a better provider, we could take vacations like our other friends!” Perhaps because of their gains in nearly one year of treatment, both of them were able to stop the exchange before it got any worse, and use the session to examine what had just occurred and to express their regrets at having insulted and hurt each other. Since “react” and “respond” had become part of their emotional vocabulary, Eric apologized to his wife, wished that he could have responded rather than reacted, and examined the reasons why he handled Pamela’s suggestion the way he did. Pamela wished that she had been able to respond to Eric’s provocative reaction by not escalating matters with a provocative reaction of her own.
I had Pamela and Eric “replay the scene,” this time demonstrating how they would have liked to respond to each other. This afforded them an opportunity to actually experience a better way of handling matters with each other, rather than just a wish that they had been able to do so the first time around.
When people who are struggling with being too reactive recognize the damage it can do and start to deliberately formulate thoughtful responses, rather than impulsive reactions, their interactions begin to reflect a higher degree of emotional competency. As a result, they live with much less regret and lessen the need to repair the damage to their relationships with others.