We all know what it’s like to be around people who are constantly trying to impress you so that both you and they can think they are all that and a bag of chips. Not fun.
Is there a difficult side to people who don’t think highly enough of themselves? Do we just call this humility?
On either end of this spectrum the distortion and inaccuracy causes issues both for the individual with the distorted self-concept and for those around them.
The individual who doesn’t know their strengths can mistakenly expect the same level of competence out of others, not knowing that they are above the average in key areas of living and functioning. True humility can also feel like false humility when it doesn’t line up with an accurate picture of reality. That can push people away because it doesn’t feel authentic.
So, how do we get to a more accurate measure of self-assessment?
Taking time to ponder is becoming a lost art culturally. We live in societies that keep us busy busy busy.
Pondering your strengths, your interests, your dislikes and your weaknesses is time well spent. Noting what others have frequently commented to you about yourself helps. (E.g. I have heard many times “I’ve never told anyone this before …”. This helps me know I’m great at being a safe compassionate listener.)
What have you heard from others over and over?
Some of what we have heard may have landed or even been intended as criticism. Is there a way to see the strength side?
My Mom used to tell me I was too sensitive. On our recent trip to visit my adult children in Canada they kept a running tally of how many times “Mom cried”.
So, my sober self-compassionate assessment of myself in this area is that I have a very tender heart and I let my own emotions and the emotions of others really move me.
I love that about myself.
What have you been criticized for by someone else or multiple people? Is it possible that beneath what they see or experience is a strength that they don’t have?
When I teach DISC, a behavioral styles tool, I say “any strength over-used can be a weakness”. What does that mean? Sometimes our strengths blind us to the impact they have on other people or how they can be negatively affecting us. Take the highly detailed person. Their ability to catch mistakes is amazing but they may spent an unhealthy amount of time trying to make sure “it” is perfect. They may also not have much tolerance for other people’s mistakes.
What areas in your life are so strong that perhaps you are expecting too much from other people?
You may have strengths you don’t ever think about. One way to get to them is to think about which behaviors by people you interact with really bother you over and over. Instead of just feeling frustrated by someone else’s incompetence, use that as a moment to reflect and acknowledge that you have a strength that not everyone around you has.
For some of this growth and awareness to happen you may need to grow your self-compassion muscles. Dr. Kristin Neff has many great resources for that: Self-Compassion Exercises
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 2, 2018
by Marilyn Orr filed under