I’ve been thinking a lot about insecurity and the need to prove lately. I’ve also been thinking about the human condition and the need for acceptance as well as the need to dominate. We have this compulsive need to be on top, to always know, to be aware of the situation. I mean, I’m not naïve, there’s a biological component to that for our survival. I’m talking about the need to be on top even in the little microcosms of our own worlds. Like, how we behave at home versus how we behave at work or with our friends. Even within each of those worlds, we behave differently with our colleagues versus those we report to or those who report to us.
We have created a world where we are never fully present because we are never fully ourselves. Yes, there are parts of our authentic personalities that will bleed through in what we do, but we are never in an environment where we are wholly who we are. We’ve been trained to be certain things to certain people at certain times because we became more comfortable fulfilling someone else’s obligation/dreams than we did our own. We allow ourselves to either be tempted by the illusion of security or we don’t feel like we can pass muster. We are never taught how destructive that behavior is.
This really came up in discussion about a coworker the other day. As I mentioned on Saturday, things have been rough at work. There has been a ton of miscommunication overlayed with unclear expectations thrown in the mix of our own interpretation of what we are supposed to be doing. No one really knows what the other is doing but we all believe we do. This coworker has an idea about my role that is a mile from the mark of reality. Instead of speaking to me about it, this person became incredibly cocky and intolerant of some of the things going on in my areas and even more impatient with the things I had to learn. I use this as an example because I saw all of these emotions all over his face and it derailed me. I really had to think about what was going on.
And it hit me: the kid has no clue about this environment. We all have insecurities and when we are relatively new to a role, we try to prove how much we know or how deserving we are to be where we are. This is a sheltered kid who lives at home who was put in a position of authority but was never given the full story about what we do. While I felt insecure about what I couldn’t do or where I was struggling, I also got angry at his behavior toward me. And then I took a step back: he’s lashing out because he has no clue about the implications of what he’s doing and he doesn’t know what the other teams do. He also has no perspective on life because he hasn’t experienced it. He’s run the show before—but that’s all it was: a show. We can make anything look good, it doesn’t mean it is good.
So I wanted to use this as an opportunity to break through some of those layers, some of those facades we create to get through our days. So much of what we do is based on survival or the fear of being ostracized somehow. We want to fit in. But when we start excluding others based on our notions, that is when it gets ugly. Most of those grounds we use to exclude people aren’t even our own. We have created a machine out of humans supporting a certain type of work. We’ve lost touch with humanity by expecting people to perform a certain way in certain environments. That isn’t me.
I spent some time really angry about what had happened and the condescending, egoic attitude from this person. And I realized I was feeling the trigger of my own insecurities and knowing where I was struggling learning the job, telling myself I didn’t deserve to be there and how could I keep this role if I wasn’t performing. That’s when it hit me: he’s making himself feel better by making me feel worse and he feels like he has to do it because he’s insecure elsewhere. So I just smiled. I don’t have anything to prove. Neither do I. My goal now is to have people wake up and be more comfortable simply being who they are. Dropping the image, the faces we wear. And along with that, I want to redefine what we “accept” as normal because we shouldn’t be excluding anything. I simply want us to learn to embrace our humanity. Let go of anything that shields you and embrace yourself first. Let’s create a new light.