It was 3 years ago that I posted the Facebook rant that launched my blogging career. Sometimes when you feel a little lost and like you need to meet you again, the re-set button can be as easy as looking into your own life archives. I’m fortunate mine was as easy a start as back to this beginning…
“Well you can’t fix stupid either and you proved that”!!
Actually, although my blogging life has been an incredibly uplifting experience overall, it blows me away a little that I’ve been insulted through it too from time to time. …But I digress…
That particular insult was lobbed at me in a Facebook note. It was from someone who’d had only few superficial conversations with me and no involvement in the situation at hand at the time. Not that really knowing me, nor having full knowledge of the details then changes the bottom line.
I admit I was somewhat shocked at that charged-up energy that came at me. There are all kinds of ways to respond, but at the time I was more engrossed in the event that precipitated the results of her research.
I re-read the post later and those words actually ended up making me smile. They reminded me of a personal motto I used to say: “I hope I’m the dumbest one in the room”. In return I usually got a look like I’d just confirmed that for them.
What I really meant was that regardless of whatever endeavor I was involved in, I wanted whomever else I was working with to be wiser, more knowledgeable, and more creative than me. I was sure that would get me an opportunity to learn something, probably something great and hopefully a lot of it. Yup, not quite that insult’s target, but I know myself well enough to be confident in what I may or may not be.
That event had interesting timing. Some friends and I had been having conversations about self-esteem and the often misinterpreted difference between assertiveness & confidence or self-centeredness & aggression. There are many examples of how these characteristics are practised, but in our chats we narrowed the illustration down to standing up for oneself.
We partially surmised that self-centredness starts with feeling some sense of entitlement or an innate belief that one can do no wrong. The world better be good to me first or the world is gonna hear about it:
“Don’t confuse my personality and my attitude because my personality is ME and my attitude depends on YOU”.
Awww snap! Or – Aw snap!, snap!, snap! if they are particularly perturbed. This is more of a passive/aggressive or aggressive/aggressive defensiveness beyond my Psych 101 capabilities, or more to the point, my patience levels. Whatever happened to personal responsibility/self control?
On the other hand, real confidence says I will be good to you and if you are unkind in return, I can walk away with my self-respect fully intact without having to bring you down a peg to accomplish that. I would add that that also exhibits dignity, not an unworthy effort and something I wish I could have attached myself to much earlier in life.
Confidence asks how does whatever this is really matter to my life or me? Most of the time, whatever it is doesn’t make a bit of difference to anything.
Confidence also includes the element of humbleness. It says sometimes I may be wrong, but that does not diminish that I am a good and decent person and I will fix what I can fix about it. By the way, the fixing action begins with offering genuine apologies, followed by genuine efforts to not repeat the offenses. Amazes me to this day, how hard this concept is for some to grasp.
Self-centredness mistakes the element of humbleness in confidence as weakness. That mistake is the weakness that truly exposes lack of self-esteem.
A little follow up: some time after sending that note, my ‘insulter’s’ defense was that she thought something negative was said about her. I did my best to reassure, but no matter, once her reaction was on the world-wide-web for all to see, the never-intended reason became fact for her anyway. One less Facebook friend.
Too bad she didn’t take the minute to ask me about my intentions before she posted that over-the-top response.
So yes, it was interesting that that whole scenario played out right in the middle of those chats about confidence. I guess you could say that a couple of us learned more than we were expecting at the time.
There’s far more to the depth of these issues than I can, or care to, note here, but if you were to ask me what would I say in return to that hotly lobbed insult now? In short: up your self- esteem!
Hopefully the Dumbest One in the Room