Sometimes a simple phrase will hit you like a ton a bricks. I have seen it happen in various situations and these phrases have been constructed by various people, including myself. It’s normally a situation where everything seems to be normal and moving along, but then something is said and it just takes a second or two to digest what was actually said.
The truth is that I can be a master a playing devil’s advocate in a conversation, so I’ve had my share of pauses after statements. But it doesn’t always have to be in conversations that this happens, it can be in a song, in a movie or … as happened this morning, it happened in church.
Our church just started a series on Relationship Wreckers, which I’m eager to work through over the coming weeks. The first week was about defining boundaries in a relationship. Today’s message was delivered by Grif Ray, he had a line in his message that was one that stopped me cold and made me spend most of the day reflecting:
An insecure person can’t be wrong.
He obviously didn’t mean that they can’t actually be wrong, but that they will never admit they are wrong. He joked that he would be called out about being defensive and he’d actually be defensive in attitude about being defensive (or something similar to that).
Just recently I was in a discussion with my boss and the topic of self confidence came up. I believe it was in response to the fact that I shared why I sometimes where a heart rate monitor when I get in front of people to speak. I love to get up and present, especially about things I’m passionate about – but I’m often scared shitless. Sharing this with my boss, she said something to the affect, “I would have never guessed that.”
The perception is that I have self confidence, the reality is not quite that clear cut. There are many times that I think that my self confidence is a sign of my feelings of inferiority and doubt. I know that one of the common thoughts I have and struggle with is: “What if I screw up? Will they think everything I’ve done is a fraud?”
Some of that comes from a belief that my worth is a reflection of my reputation. The problem with that is that you don’t own your reputation, everyone else does. That’s a lonely and miserable existence if you are always trying to make the world happy to keep a reputation.
My step father used to always say, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.” And then it would be followed by some lesson similar to this line of thought: that doing what you know to be right is always a better way to make a decision then trying to decide what others think is right for you.
When I look back on my life, I think that I can relate most of my poor choices to feelings of insecurity, wanting to “prove” myself worthy and feeling like I needed to do what others thought would be the best decision (or would look the best).
The weirdest thing about that is almost all of the pressure is an internal pressure. I’ve never had a lot of external pressures: my parents were never demanding of my success, Nikki is about as easy going as a spouse can get …
… it’s entirely a self constructed pressure.
Being insecure can be a real downward spiral. It takes a lot of effort to live up to everyone’s expectations and sadly we live in a world where we love to build people up, just to enjoy watching them fail. I think of Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong to name an obvious two.
There was a period of about 3 years that I felt really secure in who I was. It came at a time that I spent an exceptional amount of time developing my spiritual awareness, may not coincidence it was also a time that I spent a lot of time in nature and almost no time considering what my next paycheck, gadget or social engagement was going to be. I really didn’t give a fuck about much, other than being happy and helping others find a little happiness to.
I happened to meet Nikki during that period. That is a good thing, today I’d never have the confidence to try and take her on a date.
If you are interested in Grif’s message you can find it here: xroadschurch.org