I used to live my life exceptionally concerned with what other people thought of me.
Yes, my unquenchable desire to be liked and approved of drove the majority of the decisions I made. (It also drove a ton of achievement, which made it a mixed bag to be sure).
But because of this need, I always felt “less than” or one down in my interpersonal relationships. Like the other person somehow had higher status than I in the relationship and therefore I would get nervous about my interactions, analyze what to say and when to say it, and ultimately be preoccupied rather than being present.
And guess what? The other person DID have higher status than I did. Because I gave it to them.
Why is it that so many of us feel lucky to have our great jobs, our wonderful love partners, our committed clients, etc.? Note, I said “lucky,” not grateful. It’s lovely to feel grateful for the gifts in our lives.
But what I’m talking about is feeling lucky, as if we’re not sure we’re as “good” or “worthy” as the other person is assigning us.
So we stumble and fumble and people-please. Which is not only exhausting but crushing to our self-esteem.
This all shifted for me as I progressed on my journey to self-love and ultimately self-advocacy (I journey I’ll always be on). As I began to truly accept my worth and my gifts, I asked myself, “ What if I looked at it differently? Isn’t _____ lucky to have someone like me on their staff?” and “Isn’t ______ lucky to have me as such a committed friend?”
When I began to look at how great it was for the other person to have me in whatever “role” I played in that relationship, everything shifted. And I didn’t have to put them in a lower status role – it was more like a reciprocal, EQUAL role.
Over time as I’ve seen this same issue come up with clients, I’ve coined it “healthy arrogance” that they need to develop. Now of course I don’t mean real arrogance. But this phrase seems to help people remember that they, themselves, are a “find” for their employer, clients, spouses, and friends, rather than feeling lowly and giving their power away.
Where is it that you might need a dose of healthy arrogance?
Where is it that you need to practice remembering that YOU are a gift in the equation? That YOU bring tremendous value to the relationship? That you’ve earned your place in the equation.
It’s not about swinging to the other side and embodying true conceit. It’s about having the “healthy arrogance” to claim your RIGHTFUL place as a significant contribution to the relationship.
And as an aside, nobody likes someone who is weak, chameleon-like, and kiss-assy. (I think I just made up a word). The more you exemplify your true worth in your relationships, the more wonderful, healthy, and reciprocal relationships you will draw to yourself.