Hiding My Vulnerabilities
During lunch with colleagues last week, I self-righteously shared an “I told them so!” about my last job. "See! They were blind all along!"
And I didn’t feel good afterward - something was off, and I felt shame rise up.
So I went next door to speak with a colleague about it. I knew I was covering something up with that self-righteousness, and I knew the truth would come out if I started to own it with someone else.
I use self-righteousness to hide vulnerability. With just a few of my former colleagues, I didn’t feel heard, respected, or trusted. Some part of me did and still does wonder what’s wrong with me that I wasn’t seen in a positive light, and I still fear that my experience with them was because I’m just “not enough” as a person.
And I really want that to be their fault and not mine, so I get loud and self-righteous!
It’s a really good thing that we try to hide our vulnerabilities! Doing so has been a crucial part of our survival over the millennia. The problem, though, is that covering it up doesn’t make it go away, it just hides it - the vulnerability is still there, and I’m not as free when my actions and being are stuck trying to cover it up.
So it’s really fine to want to cover that vulnerability up, it's just not usually necessary. In fact, my relationships deepen when I'm willing to share those vulnerabilities.
I now know that whenever I’m feeling self-righteous about my old job, that vulnerability (“Maybe I’m just not good enough?”) is right there behind it.
self-righteousness has underlying insecurity and fear
anger has underlying insecurity and fear
anxiety has underlying insecurity and fear
arrogance has underlying insecurity and fear
embarrassment has underlying insecurity and fear
addictive behavior has underlying insecurity and fear
Knowing this doesn't mean that those emotions are bad or wrong, but it does encourage me to consider where my actions and being are coming from. The insecurity and fear are nearly always phantoms, and there's usually nothing to actually be afraid of.
You know what doesn’t have underlying insecurity and fear?
Presence of mind
Maybe this is hyperbole, but I think that what underlies all of our selfish and negative emotions is a desire to be safe, heard, acknowledged, appreciated, and loved. And perhaps we’re scared that we’re just not worthy of any of that.
This is true for me at least.
Thanks so much for reading. ❤️