A friend of mine recently sent me this:
It's dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you feel deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.
I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig. Lightly, lightly - it's the best advice ever given to me.
I think "Go lightly" is some of the best advice ever given to me. Certainly some of the most important. I must have been told something like it many times, although it took me a long time to realise it. Even now I worry about being too harsh, too demanding of others, too serious with myself.
The passage continues:
When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portenteous, or emphatic. No rhetoric, no tremolos, no self-conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell. And of course, no theology, no metaphysics. Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.
So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That's why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling, on tiptoes and no luggage, not even a spong bag, completely unencumbered.
Now I try to be more gentle and understanding. I like people very much. I want people to feel comfortable around me, and for me to take care.
My boss used to help me by pointing out to me how I acted in meetings and around others generally. That helped a lot. Otherwise, there are a few books that have helped me with this:
The Charisma Myth
p.s. After writing this I remembered there's a book called The Unbearbale Lightness of Being. Maybe I'll go find out what that's about. The extract above comes from a book called Island.