I have recently become very aware of a pattern of behaviour that people (including myself!) exercise in life when in certain situations. This pattern is not very useful, or sustainable, long term and for that reason I wanted to become more conscious of when I am doing it so I can choose the right path.
What I am talking about here, is Peacocking. Peacocking is when you are in a situation in which you need to flaunt your feathers for attention. “Hey look at me! I am beautiful and amazing at this and that, and I am fun and gracious and generous and appreciative. I can accomplish anything and can take on any task. I own x,y,z. I am the total package. I am the perfect person for you to choose…” (as an employee, partner, friend, you get the drift).
As you may know, when male peacocks are trying to get the attention of a mate, they display their beautiful feathers as an attraction technique. Here’s the downfall… after the chase is over, or once you’ve ‘landed’ what you were attracting, you let your feathers back down and the ‘real’ authentic you is what is left. If you are not internally happy with that person, then you may find yourself constantly needing people or situations that allow you to Peacock. This can lead to GGOTOSS (Grass is Greener On The Other Side Syndrome) and a constant need for something or someone new. If we love who we are when peacocking, and find ourselves empty when not, then naturally, we assume the best solution is live in that state of attention. I am going to tell you why it is actually not in your best interest to do so…
As mentioned, you only allow yourself to exhibit certain behaviours when Peacocking, (characteristics that make you desirable), which in turn gives you loads of attention. You of course love getting the attention, so you always find yourself looking for new ways in which you can display your feathers. This may mean changing your job position, materialistic goods, your partner or social circle. It may lead to you constantly changing your surroundings so you have new people or places to attract. Once people know the real you, because let’s face it, you can’t be fabulous forever, you feel the need to search out someone or something new that can find your initial energy irresistible again. This pattern is typically a result of an inner spiritual unbalance. It is part of our approval seeking behaviour. There are parts of your authentic character that you are not at peace with, and therefore would rather not live with.
So, instead of living in a state of ‘it’s ShowTime!’ how about we work on YOU. Work on finding out who you really, are and finding peace and joy with what’s inside. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE to Peacock. I love to be ’on’ and live in that moment and excitement of meeting new people and embarking on new journeys. And that is perfectly normal! It is a basic human instinct. That being said, a lot about my authentic self also has similar characteristics to what I display when I am flaunting, so I have a hard time knowing when to let down my feathers, or how to distinguish between the two. Here is where I faced my biggest challenge. I lost myself in the mix of all the new things going on in my life, and had to force myself to find peace with the real authentic ‘me’ again, and my existing life. One of my greatest resources would be my husband, who can remind me all the reasons why he loves the real me. Authentic, down to earth, unconditionally loved, and yes, flawed, me. Do you have someone in your life who can point out all the amazing qualities of the real you?
Be conscious of only surrounding yourself with situations that make you flaunt your feathers. At some point, you will need to put them down, and you don’t want an emotional crash. Peacocking can be an extremely addictive behaviour. The high that the attention gives you can be irresistible to your neurology and physiology. Just being aware of when you are doing it can help you mind your feathers, and bring them down in due time. Take it from me, it is absolutely FUN, and part of you, to flaunt all the great qualities and potential you have. However, getting into a cycle of constantly seeking out new situations to Peacock in, can be destructive to your life and result in feelings of dissatisfaction and ungratefulness with those things that may not be so new (basically those things you’ve already landed). Nothing will seem as exciting in your life if you cannot find happiness with what you already have when your beautiful display of feathers are not showing. So instead of looking for other people, events or situations that allow you pump your chest, flair your goods and get the attention, go find all the amazing things that you love about YOU within yourself. No feathers, just plain old you. Learn to enjoy your own company. Love your strengths and own your weaknesses. Learn to detach your happiness from people or things, as their actions and reactions can directly influence your thoughts and feelings. The more you fall in love with the authentic you (not your ego) the less you will crave the high from the addictive behaviours, and ultimately the less you will need to live in peacock mode. It can surely be exhausting.
It may also be useful to notice when someone else may be in Peacock mode too, so you do not get too caught up in the infatuation of it all. Always keep your eyes and heart open to seeing someone for who they really are, desirable and undesirable, unconditionally. This will help remove the blinders that fog our true vision.
Once again, Peacocking is totally natural and a basic human/animal instinct, but it is not meant to be abused. Just as our bodies are naturally equip to fight or flight when faced with danger, we are not meant to live in a constant state of anxiety to situations that really pose no threat to us.
Start to notice if you find yourself living in that attention state more often than not, and use that as your alarm code for restoring the balance with your spirit. Time to work on some self-love I’d say.
Well, I think it’s time to go rest those tired feathers.