THE RIVER OF EYES

Car problems are the worst. They can be some of the most heartbreaking and frustrating problems that we have to deal with and they have a knack of happening at inconvenient times.

Well, the other day my truck decided that it didn’t want to cooperate with my plans and I ended up having to walk to work. Thankfully, I live about a mile from work, but it felt like eternity getting there.

I live in the desert. Although it’s nice having sunny skies year-around, when the temperature gets to three digits you’ll feel like a rotisserie chicken just stepping out of your door.

The heat, however, was not the most uncomfortable part of the walk. What really bothered me about the journey was walking next to a river of eyes.

The whole way to work is along on of the busiest streets in my city, and whether traffic was stopped or flowing, I felt the eyes of hundreds of people looking at me, judging me.

It made me kind of nervous, having so many eyes on me. I was the only person out walking and suddenly I became very self- aware.

How do I look to the people sitting in their big metal boxes with wheels, stopping and going at the commands of the lights? Insecurities started voicing their existence from the depths of my consciousness.

Maybe they think I’m poor.

They probably think I’m a loser.

Look how skinny he is.

Look at his clothes, who dresses like that?

And on. And on. And on. The sudden feeling of being under the microscope of by-passers in their cars hit me like a wave.

I became aware that I was walking too fast and so I slowed my pace. I became aware that I was slouching, and so I fixed my posture. I because aware that I have a tendency to look down instead of straight ahead, and so I picked my chin up.

Sooner or later, I was walking confidently, and I started feeling more confident as well. I told myself to hold myself well and not to give a hoot about whatever people thought of me and I kept on walking.

Eventually, after being exposed for so long on that road going to and coming from work, I grew immune to that feeling of judgement. My courage was strengthened and I felt confident walking along side of the river of eyes.

The experience made me think that maybe throwing yourself into situations like the river of eyes where you submit yourself to the judgement of your peers can be a quick and easy way to build both courage and confidence.

Are you comfortable being in front of the judgmental eyes of your fellow human beings? If so, why? If not, then why not?

Perhaps it’s healthy to throw yourself into situations that make you self-conscious. There’s a lot that you can learn about yourself.

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