This may be somewhat at odds with my general woe is me self-flagulation, but I’ve recently had a run of things that I think I’ve actually dealt with pretty well. Suddenly the world doesn’t seem so impossible and things can be dealt with without a hissy fit and running away to go hide in a corner. For a ridiculous example, I stupidly ate a banana flavoured sweet the other day (I’m allergic) and spent a significant proportion of my morning in the less than pleasant bathrooms at work (by the way, I’m forming a very poor view of Londoners based on bathroom cleanliness – maybe this is unfair?). Yet, I still managed to sit through a rather painful 3 hour meeting (my god, you could even argue I made some useful contributions) without prefacing it with a pathetic ‘I’m not well, waaaaaaah.’ This is a fairly big step forward for me. I realise this is probably standard for other people and I’m coming to the conclusion that a lot of my pathetic hang ups are far more common that I have been assuming. I just talk about them constantly and don’t like hiding them (I’m all about the surfaces). Oh dear, I’m less special than I’d thought (and more shallow).
While on my roll, I’ve been cheered on by some positive comments. It’s nice to hear you’re making a good impression; that you’ve shown great potential; that people are grateful for stuff you’ve done; that you’ve really intelligent and pick things up quickly (I have a bit of a mutual adoration society going with the woman I sit next to); that you don’t need to compromise who you are to be successful (that one’s my favourite actually), etc. Even better when this stuff is said multiple times by multiple people senior to you. I wish my confidence levels weren’t indexed so closely to what other people thought, but apparently they are.
Having this excess of confidence makes me far more likely to speak whenever I have an opinion which, while sometimes being productive and useful, can also make you sound like a bit of a prat. I wince when I think about some conversations where I know I’ve spoken like a know-it-all who’s disappeared so far up their own arse it’s untrue (if I could tone down some of the showing off that would be quite nice too!). I am painfully aware of the mountain of things I don’t know enough about and I don’t want to pretend that I do understand them.
Basically, I’m scared of buying in to my own hype and forgetting that a lot of these compliments are caveated; you need to continue not to mess up and a fair chunk of them might just have been said to counter your negative attitude and get as much out of you as possible (as opposed to you being the greatest thing to have ever happened).
If I could find the balance between having enough confidence to function and being a self-important twat I’d be a happy bunny.