I get mad when people mistake self-deprecating humor and vulnerability for weakness instead strength.
What kind of insecurity places a bullseye on itself? Projection is the preferred ego defense of the “unexamined mind.”
When I make fun of myself or “tell on myself” (as some say in the South), I’m usually doing it to put my companion[s] at ease. It comes out of a desire to magnify the other; to make them feel confident about themselves. I’m an empath, and I pick up on a lot of what others are saying and showing, even if I don’t directly mention it.
Instead, I try to take what stressors I perceive they’re feeling and try to make them “un feel” them by communicating my understanding of their suffering.
I confess that I used to have to be the smartest person in the room. I wouldn’t stop until everybody knew it (or, one time at a business conference in Switzerland, until one fellow British VP thought I was a complete asshole!).
This behavior is from my striving, highly “successful” period – when my “bride price” was probably much higher than it is now.
I think I’ve finally learned, grown, and realized I prefer underpromising and overdelivering to showing off.
Sadly, despite all the work (mental, interpersonal, emotional) I had to do to get to this, my wisest and strongest place in life, I sense I’m perceived as the Chauncey Gardner/Peter Sellers character in Being There. Without the incorrect recognition of “his genius.”
So my question is this:
Am I full of bullshit, still desperately needing to be the smartest person in the room by complaining I feel misunderstood since no one realizes I’m the smartest person in the room anymore (even though I know I still clearly am)?