If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a psychologist and working with patients it’s that we are all of different speeds and intensities. No two of us are really alike in the ways I’m wanting to talk about here. Though we may be the same age, look like each other, or be assigned to the same work group, we each have different ways of receiving information, processing our reactions, and generating new ideas.
I’ve noticed we tend to get ourselves into trouble when we start to insist that we fit into others’ ways of behaving or vice versa. For instance…
- “I have to get everyone to agree with how I’m seeing this.”
- “I should have chosen A even though I like B more.”
- “I need to make this decision because everyone thinks I should go in this direction.”
- “I’m incompetent because I work so much more slowly than my friends do.”
- “I’m really not in the mood for this, but I will pretend I am because I feel I’ll let people down if I don’t put on my happy face.”
- “I can’t move forward with this project because it is not perfect. I cannot let people know I’m in this state right now.”
As you can see, the self-statements are varied, but they are all similar in that they each keep the self in a less-than-good state. When we try to bend ourselves in ways that don’t suit us, we cramp our own style. And we need our own style to make:
- creative work
- interesting conversation
- new ways of interacting
- effective decisions
- future plans
Without adding our own style and individual pace and rhythm to what we do, we end up not feeling comfortable with what we make. And then we add to that mistake by believing we are without talent in the first place. What a very sad way of looking at your very talented self.
Please take a look at how you might be restricting yourself from being your full self right now. Look for ways your might relax your own constraints. Find a new way to experiment and to make interesting mistakes and fumbles. Try a different technique for asking for someone’s help or attention. Dare I say it? Make yourself stand out a bit more, particularly in the ways that only you can do.