So often when we are around people who irritate us we use the wrong strategies to deal with it. Sometimes we mis-diagnose what is underlying their behavior. Sometimes we react with our own blindspots.
Different things will push your buttons than push mine but underneath those irritations are often the same core issues. Let’s look briefly at the different ways that insecurity can show up.
Someone who is insecure will try to impress and try to feel good about themselves by looking better than others. This can come out in so many ways:
- as outright bragging,
- by frequently being in teacher mode,
- by doing lots of talking and not listening,
- by telling others what they need to do (even if not asked, even if the person knows),
- sarcasm or cutting “humor” in order to feel better by tearing someone else down,
- being a hero, frequently, in all kinds of ways, or
- presenting as the victim or martyr in life as a way to feel better.
This list could go on and on.
The root is that our legitimate need to be seen, known and loved often does not get adequately met. Especially if we have lived a significant number of years with this need not being properly met we keep looking for it to be met.
One of the problems with this though is that what would have been appropriate behavior as a young person becomes awkward, rude and off-putting as an adult.
The need to be seen, known and loved remains legitimate but expecting those around us to meet that need often moves us in to unhealthy relationship patterns.
So, what is the answer?
It is an ownership issue. When we apply pressure on others, subtle or overtly, to help us feel better about ourself then we are giving away our power. External validation is important and I think we all need to give and receive more of it. However, there is a core amount of feeling really good and secure about who we are that we need to do for ourselves.
I need to own my need for positive feedback, for compassion and kindness and learn to effectively give that to myself. I need to practice forgiving myself, being gracious with myself when I’ve messed up.
There is a great old Bob Newhart scene where he, as the psychiatrist, thinks he has the quick fix for his patient’s fear. (If you need a good laugh, here’s the link: Bob Newhart - Stop It Link )
Learning to care for ourself and feel more secure because we regularly offer kindness and compassion to ourself doesn’t just happen because you read the idea in a book or blog.
What does practicing being your own best support look like? Here are a few ideas:
- Pay attention to when you are feeling vulnerable - it could show up in any number of ways, including the ones I listed above
- Have something kind ready to say to yourself - something that you would say to a dear friend or something you long for someone else to say to you
- Notice when you are comparing yourself to others and choose a kind way of embracing who you get to be and celebrate your uniqueness without needing to compare
- Acknowledge when you are feeling hurt by someone else and be willing to ask yourself if their actions touched a nerve because of an area that feels vulnerable
I’ll leave you with Brene Brown’s wonderful phrase, a great one to own: “I am enough”.
Until next time,
Marilyn Orr, MA, CEC, PCC is an Executive and Leadership Coach with Capacity Building Coaching, holding her Professional Certified Coach designation with the International Coach Federation.
Marilyn provides professional coaching for executive and business leaders, mentor coaching for coaches, and leadership development support in the form of coaching skills training and soft-skills development. Reach out to Marilyn for more information.
Marilyn is author of everyday resiliency workbook “How Absorbent Are Your Shocks?”, available on Amazon. Subscribe to “Marilyn’s Musings” twice monthly blogposts for more leadership and professional development content.
Posted on Thu, August 30, 2018
by Marilyn Orr filed under