How many times have you heard how important it is to leave a good first impression? Do you believe it? Do you question it?
When it comes to first impressions, let's just get this straight: they are judgements about one person, made by another, based on their own beliefs, values and experiences. It is actually impossible to control what kind of a first impression we leave because we are not the creator of this - the person who is impressed upon is. Yes, but think about it. All that you are taught about leaving a good first impression is some generic nonsense about eye contact, firm handshake and how much you should or should not joke depending on the situation. The person you are meeting has been taught the same thing. They are expecting you to tick those boxes. So, basically, the first impression is just a more elaborate or a more formal way to say: "Y'alright". Because we all know that saying "Y'alright" is not asking "Are you alright?".
Congruence, people! It is the only buzz word you need. Self-care, kindness, vulnerability... It is all a big Y'alright if you are not being you. This is not a fake power word that says: "I say it like it is!" because nobody cares what you say, not really - they already believe what they believe. Congruence is not about how you present yourself to others (although this is a byproduct), it is about how you are with you. Your acceptance of yourself, your ability to love yourself with such consistency that might as well be eternal. If you cannot be you, then who will? And another byproduct of this way of being is, very conveniently, that you are more accepting of how others are. Because you have separated yourself from the goo of the generic conditioning, you know what makes you you, so you are not threatened by others' differences. "Of course their handshake is not as firm as mine", you hear yourself thinking full of curiosity for this feeble-handed person and their unique reasons for the lack of grip. What intriguing stories hide behind those eyes that cannot bare to meet yours?
The healing of a human soul involves a lot more unlearning than learning. Once you have unlearned - you pretty much already know.