One night, when I was a professional belly dancer, I performed on stage at a Middle Eastern restaurant, and a couple of other dancers were in the audience. After my show, one of the dancers told me she enjoyed watching my routine and particularly liked my veil work. I was so pleased to get a compliment from her. The other dancer looked at me and said she thought I did a great job on my makeup.
Um, thank you?
I wish I could remove all self-doubt and face every situation with confidence. Of course, it's not going to happen, but I've learned it's not a bad thing after all. I'll continue to second guess myself and worry that I'm not good enough. However, I've found I'm continually motivated to learn and always open to advice and suggestions because I want to improve. The more accomplished I feel, the more I understand the importance of continually learning. I've accepted my fate of never being completely satisfied with my performances or presentations. I also know it will not keep me from expressing my ideas to the public. I enjoy sharing the tools I've gathered to help others persevere in their pursuits. Now, as a speaker, my job is geared towards overcoming the obstacles we put in our way.
Over the years, I've heard others express the same frustration of feeling inadequate, yet these people are highly regarded in their field of expertise. It's interesting and surprising to me when they confess their insecurities because it never occurred to me that they ever felt that way. On the other hand, I've seen people be bullies and insulting to their peers in hopes that no one finds out how desperately low their self-esteem really is. I believe we have a choice on how we handle our fears of imperfection. We can either go the route of humility and continue our education or have a thimble full of knowledge and boast so loudly that no one dares question our abilities.
We will likely find common ground when we all admit that we worry about not measuring up to a perceived ideal. Think of all the creative collaboration that would result in working together. Instead of feeling competitive, we can push each other to reach goals and relish each other's success. I know the notion of "being the best" is what drives most people to go above and beyond expectations. I'm not against having the drive and ambition to excel in one's chosen field. I'm suggesting we give a hand to those trying to better themselves instead of ignoring or looking down on their attempts.
It's easy to make someone feel less than with a backhanded insult, but to what purpose? Does it somehow convince you of your superiority? If so, that's a sad way to be. You're proving that your self-doubt is at the core of your arrogance, and it's not very pretty. Unfortunately, all the makeup in the world will not help you cover that kind of ugliness. I feel my best when I can support and encourage others to find their voice and deliver their message. When we work together, we all gain insight that assists our growth. I learn more when I take the time to teach others, and everyone walks away with a win.