Your ego footprint

Think about your ego footprint

I recently got new neighbours. They live in the house adjoining mine. I can’t hear them talking unless they are very loud, but I can hear if they knock things over, walk in high heels, play loud music, or reorganise their bookshelf up against our common wall.

The last neighbours, Fabian and his girlfriend, were very quiet; one hardly new if they were home. They moved away without saying goodbye, which is a shame, but the point is I never realised they had gone until I spoke to the movers who were hauling their things onto a removal truck. Fabian had moves “several days ago” they said.

Now I have new neighbours, and I know when they are there, from the time they unlock the door with a grunt, a sigh and a tumble inside. They are especially noisy on the weekends. They park on the pavement, leave their door open while they smoke out in the yard, continue chatting from outside to anyone still inside, and play music that gets louder as the Sunday afternoon wears on. They seem to knock and damage things quite a bit, and generally stomp about.

We speak of “footprint” to describe the impact that our way of life has on the environment; and the difference in my two neighbours led me to think about whether we each have our own individual “ego footprint”. Am I a bull in a china shop, or am I quiet as a mouse? Sometimes, it is true, I can be like the former, and other times I am more quiet, but generally I am somewhere in between, shifting dynamically as to my mood or the occasion – or how much I’ve had to drink.

Consider reducing your ego footprint

We each have our unique ego footprint, which determines the range within which we normally operate. Some people are filled with bombast and others show great humility. Some have little and often no awareness of themselves, while others show care, understanding and restraint, thinking before they do something and sensitive to how they are doing them. They are in touch with what is appropriate to the place and occasion and do not assume that everyone around them wants to know they are there. Some people bump into things, hoot and jump lanes, generally irritating those around them – if not causing actual damage. Others have a softer impact, glide through life announced, and use their energies more effectively.

Not that I want to spoil anyone’s fun. And because I don’t, I aspire to ‘taking up less space’. The Alexander Technique is my route to getting there.

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