In a recent group coaching call with some clients, we were discussing the topic of labels, removing the labels we give or hold ourselves to, to be exact. I will cover the importance of choosing labels and how the words we use influence our subconscious and self-beliefs later in this article. In talking about choosing new labels, recognising personal strengths, and having the confidence to use the chosen labels, a question came up around the concern that, if we verbalise our new labels, others may take the view that we consider ourselves better than them.
To be clear, I am not referring to labels of being the best or better than others, nor am I suggesting that it is something we force into conversation when not relevant, that's stepping into arrogance. I am referring to having confidence to openly recognise you are good, or great, at something. We are more likely to refer to someone else as being great at baking, a fantastic organiser, or good at [insert job title, vocation, etc.] than we would oneself.
The point here is that every time you withhold something about yourself, in the fear that others will somehow be offended or judgemental, you are hiding part of who you are, you are effectively obscuring part of yourself, your uniquity. You are putting on a mask to portray yourself how you believe, or interpret, others would see you as acceptable. In doing so you are presenting yourself at a level lower. A level above which you would fear others may be uncomfortable with your confidence or abilities. This is falling into GOOP, needing to be validated by the Good-Opinion-of-Other-People, because of the need or desire to fit in.
When you do this, you are not only denying yourself the opportunity to shine and be recognised for who you are, your uniquity, your individuality, your strengths and skills, but you are pushing yourself into the shadows. Hence telling yourself that people are not interested in who you authentically are. The biggest consequence of this is that the words you use about yourself sink into your subconscious mind and you start to believe them. They become limiting-beliefs and you are relegated to the shadows because that's where you believe you should be, even to the point you feel uncomfortable when complimented. This means that no-one can get to know the real authentic you and that you may get overlooked in favour of those who are more comfortable with expressing their strengths.
Confidence is not the need to bring attention to yourself or your strengths, it is the absence of the shyness in doing so. Confidence is also being comfortable with what you are not good at without self judgement. You must be prepared for others to be uncomfortable with who you are because the flip side of this is living in the shadows of mediocrity. Usually, if people do experience discomfort with your confidence it comes from one of the following:
They are insecure about who they are and want to be more confident themselves.
They want to be recognised for their own, similar strengths.
They attribute success to strengths they do not have, whilst not recognising their own strengths in other areas.
It is not your responsibility to protect others from their insecurities, certainly not at the cost of dimming your own light. If you are doing this it is probable that you do so because you recognise this discomfort in yourself and there is work to be done in being comfortable in who you are.
Ulitmately, when you allow yourself to shine, you can be an example and an inspiration to others. When others see how comfortable you are with your strengths, and your flaws, it will often promote trust, rather than cause discomfort, in others.