Pat on the back

Introverts tend to learn by observation. I know that I sometimes watch people from afar like a stalker, and then copy how they do things rather than just asking them. It’s just easier to have someone to learn from, especially as a beginner.

I guess it’s never obvious when the beginner is no longer a beginner anymore. I slowly weaned myself off the learner’s manual, and now—just months later—I’m expected to train my replacement. Am I even slightly qualified for that?!

Maybe that’s my introversion showing, too. After all, there has to be a point where I accept that I’m not bad at my job, right? Even there, in the previous sentence I was going to write “good” but then deleted it. It’s hard to have confidence without it seeming pretentious or braggy. How can we be expected to succeed if we aren’t allowed to be proud of our successes?

I’m not a beginner anymore, I know that. I’m…good. I’m good at my job. Why is that so hard to say, or to believe?

It’s always like this, I guess. Even when I was doing well in class I always acted like I was scraping by to my friends. Why aren’t we allowed to love ourselves and our accomplishments?

Ah, maybe it’s because they’re not great. Everybody gets a trophy, but kids aren’t stupid. We grew up knowing that praise doesn’t mean much. I grew up with my parents said I was smart, and pretty, and funny, but I knew that they had to say that. They were my parents. That didn’t mean I was smart or pretty or funny. And I lied enough to people to know that even a sincere-sounding compliment wasn’t always true.

Maybe we all have this nagging paranoia. It’s a deep fear in all of us that everybody secretly hates us. Those people do exist, after all…how can we tell if we’re only tolerable?

I think these thoughts are bred from our culture of stifling pride. Sure, everyone can say you’re beautiful, but if you agree then you’re suddenly vain. It’s a catch 22, that.

Let’s be proud of ourselves, shall we? Let’s acknowledge our accomplishments as well as our short comings. Let’s be bold and complimentary to ourselves, let’s support the radical notion that we’re kinda cool. Self confidence isn’t self absorption…so let’s pat ourselves on the back, already!

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5 thoughts on “Pat on the back

  1. I agree with pretty much everything in this post (which, as I’m finding out, is normal when I read your introvert posts), but that opening paragraph in particular!! I do a lot of theater, and if I miss a step while learning a dance, I don’t worry about it because I know I’ll pick it up when I see someone else do it. I always marvel at the people who put their hands up and ask for clarification in front of everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So true! I feel the need to observe people and to get a good handle on them before I ever engage with them. That’s why it works so well for me to be married to an outgoing extrovert! No one notices that I haven’t said a word 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We should believe the good that others see in us, but a general mistrust of those that we don’t know well creates that aversion to praise from ourselves. We don’t always feel that what others say to us is truth, and that we must live up to expectations that we hold for ourselves. It’s the same with negative criticism, or disapproval. We either dismiss it by justifying our actions, or we wallow in self pity. We are all a constant work in motion, and when we acknowledge the good & not so good aspects of ourselves, we set ourselves for further success. We have to accept that we are not going to be good at everything, but also that we are not bad at everything.

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