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Monday, June 13, 2011

Want a Good Case of the Self-Doubts? Compare Your Private Self with Other's Public Image

Yikes! How Did I End Up Here?

A funny thing happened on my way to polishing my public image the other day--instead of filling me with positive attributes and praises; I filled myself with self-doubt and insecurity.

It was certainly not where I intended to go. I woke up intending to update my bio and author's profile, and to jumpstart my thinking I began with studying the profiles and experience of other professionals to see how they presented themselves. I figured I could learn a lot from them. Let me tell you, there are some impressive people out there-- and you're probably one!

After spending the morning studying other's profiles I decided to take a coffee break and relax for a few minutes before going out to the garden to conquer the weeds. As I took that first sip of coffee and looked over the garden, my mind lazily wandered over what I had seen in the profiles of other amazing professionals. Suddenly a flash of self-doubt and insecurity about my own skills washed over me.

What was I thinking? These people were really professional---and with incredible skills. I was just me--currently sitting in my t-shirt, jeans and muddied shoes, ready to pull weeds and haul dirt. Not exactly what you'd call a polished image. Good thing this feeling hit me with a thud big enough to wake me up to consider how I got there. How I got there was by breaking one of my cardinal rules.

Cardinal Rule #1: Never Break the Cardinal Rule

Now usually I'm of the mindset that rules are to be broken--and with a smile. My younger sister calls me the 'system breaker' since I'm always looking for new ways to do things. But when I set a rule, it's  a cardinal rule and not to be broken.

A cardinal rule is a fundamental rule, upon which other matters hinge. I ended up with a momentary case of self-doubt because I broke the cardinal of all cardinal rules-- never compare your private self-image to other's public image.  It's an unfair comparison, and you will always find yourself lacking.

Cardinal Rule #2: Never Compare Your Private Self Image to Other's Public Image

When we compare our private self with other's public image, we see all our drab humanness and measure it against other's polish. It's the proverbial comparing apples to oranges.

Now perhaps you're saying to yourself--'there's no difference between my public and private self--what you see is what you get'.  It just isn't so. We all have a public persona and a private one. It doesn't matter how authentic I try to be to achieve 'what you see is what you get'. No matter how authentic I am, I still have that inner person who is the only one who sees the truth behind my eyes 24/7--and even I don't share everything I'm thinking.

We All Have a Public and Private Image

There is an interesting difference in perspectives when we're looking out vs. looking in.
We see ourselves for what we aren't; others see us for what we are.
We all want to be better than we currently are. This leads us to see ourselves for what we aren't--like when we look at a current photo of ourselves we want to tear up while others think it is a great picture. This isn't a bad thing--if we use it to nudge us forward. Where it gets us into trouble is when we compare ourselves to others and we see ourselves as static--forever stuck in what we aren't, and others as dynamic--forever putting their best foot forward.

Where Have You Been Doing Yourself a Disservice by Comparing Your Private Self to Other's Public Image?

What's giving you a case of self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence?

When you find insecurity inside, ask yourself:
  • Am I making a comparison between my private self and what I see in other's public image?
  • Am I assuming I'm not worthy since I'm looking from within and seeing what I'm not while looking out at others and assuming they are without insecurities and self-doubt?
 How Do You Like Those Apples?

Are you trying to meet new people in public places but finding yourself self-conscious because everyone else seems comfortable within their own group and they don't look interested in meeting you?

What you discover when you use your private self to understand the truth in others

Everyone wants:
  • To be attractive to others,
  • To be included in a group
  • To find someone to love and to love them
  • To feel they belong
  • To meet new friends
  • To be picked out of a crowd
  • To be noticed and appreciated
  • To be liked by others

Believe in yourself. Believe in others. Get out there and be your self-confident, fun-loving self!


Marilyn Coffron said...

Oh, Sue. You have been reading my mind again! I used to be so much more "Type A" and now I am happily cruisin' along without interest in a "career." I say "happily" but there are times when I ask myslef what happend to my drive....and feel so inadequate. I used to give a workshop called "The Masks We Wear." It was a different approach, but hit upon the same conclusions as your Cardinal Rule. :) Love your style!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Marilyn--we're all in it together! Our ability to do ourselves a disservice by unfair comparison defies age, gender, life situation, and 'enlightenment'. I love reading about what you're doing in your life--you are so vibrant and alive in your daily existence. You are who you've always been---full of life and a great model for us all!

Carol Speller said...

Hi Sue-
Your 'Case of the Self-Doubts' blog reminded me of the following dream I had a while ago. Adjudicators were filling ketchup bottles to indicate the levels of accomplishments of various women. The highest achievers such as Madeleine Albright and Oprah Winfrey had full bottles. There were varying amounts of ketchup in the bottles of women who’d had children and/or notable careers. Then they came to mine and said, “We’re going to need a smaller bottle.”
About a week before this dream, I was at a new grocery store choosing, of all things, ketchup. There were large bottles of the regular stuff, but I don’t use a lot, so I chose a smaller, more expensive bottle of organic ketchup. Not only did it have a color that more resembled actual food, but it tasted better. Therefore, I may have a small bottle, but the ketchup is of high quality.