Do you feel like an idiot right now?
Has someone made you feel small?
Isn't it the WORST when someone makes you feel stupid? It's better to be with stupid, than right. Here's how to deal with someone who makes you feel insecure. #Insecurity #Anxiety #StupidClick To Tweet
We all know the feeling.
When someone makes you feel stupid.
A time when you say or do something and you feel like an idiot. Everyone’s a critic, am I right?
Or even worse someone embarrassing you when you just don’t know the answer or they just won’t accept your answer or your rationalization.
Perhaps worse still maybe you shared your anxieties and fears with someone and they did not react kindly to you. So much for calming you down, now you feel a panic attack coming on.
What do you do when you feel like an idiot? When someone makes you feel stupid? Let’s discuss.
When You Feel Like An Idiot
Even though I’m fairly confident in myself and my path (today, knock on wood, like seriously, please knock for me), I’m still a vulnerable target for those who cut at my worldview or my rationalization of the universe and most importantly my position in it.
The old world thinking still prevails. You’ve heard it all your life, you already know it line for line like it’s a national anthem. You’ll go to college, graduate, get a good job, make money, buy a house, get married… (you know the rest).
And if ay any point you disagree, you break formation, you go do your own thing, you’re mad. Or in this case, you’re stupid.
I’m definitely not impenetrable or impervious to jabs at my intelligence and my validity, which cut away at my confidence in myself (like butter on a hot day) and my ability to traverse my present situation.
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“Having one of those moments when I really wish I had someone to talk who wouldn’t insult my choices by trying to argue that my justifications are stupid.
Where’s a friend when I need one? Likely asleep, it’s 11pm. This all sounds silly, right? Who would intentionally try and make someone feel this way so they’ll change their mind and join their side? Likely, no one.” – 11pm, July 14, 2016
Words from a moment of sheer frustration several months back when I was really just fighting to work it all out.
Monsters Under the Bed
What bothered me the most wasn’t that someone disagreed with me, but how they in my opinion roughly handled me and in their opinion, my paranoia and fear of the outcomes.
It may be easy for someone looking in on another person’s situation to decipher, diagnose and even determine the problems and the solutions, but the delivery is everything. A word to decoders out there, relax Tom Hanks, take a breath, this isn’t the Vatican, I do not need you to exercise my demons or to even be my angel.
“But that doesn’t make sense.”
“I just don’t get why you think that.”
Or, “that’s just stupid,” are never helpful ways of “helping” anyone.
Any good parent knows that checking for the monsters, reassuring that there aren’t any under there, that you are there to protect them and maybe even leaving on the nightlight until your child realizes for themselves that there are indeed no monsters, is the way to go.
It’s very easy to just say, “oh that’s silly, that’s stupid, ugh.” And just brush off someone else’s fears and anxieties as foolish. But trust me, unless you are in that person’s situation you have no idea the demons they wrestle with. (Hope you’re enjoying all the monster talk, currently 3 seasons into Supernatural. Jeffery Dean Morgan, where’d you go?)
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I wouldn’t be surprised if the moment your parents dismissed your fear of monsters under the bed was the first time you wondered if you could trust them.
Could you trust them to be understanding and comforting, to listen to your fears, realizing that your fear of the monsters might not be what you’re really afraid of?
What would you do next time that you faced an even greater fear, your worries about another kid at school, a teacher, a boss, a partner, a threat to your safety? Would you feel open enough to talk to them then?
“Although, if I’m being blunt this reaction to my choice is making me feel that there might be lasting alterations in how I view these relationships.
How can I count on you if you can’t support me? How can I ever really bare my soul to you to any depth if I feel your judgment in something like this?
Can I tell you my biggest dreams? Share my masterplan with you? Invite you to revel in my joys and mourn in my sadness? I honestly don’t know.
I’m not far along this journey, but I can tell you that without people who “get you” it can be a lonely one. And I predict things are about to get lonelier for me.”
–11:15 pm, July 14, 2016
Definitely Crazy, Maybe
I’ve got crazy ideas and mad plans for my life, but I’m definitely not stupid.
Yes, I sometimes make stupid choices, but I don’t need you to tell me that.
At the very least, crazy with fluctuating levels of confidence. There are very few people who know the director’s cut of my master plan. I’d like to say that secrecy is because it’s need-to-know or just too important to share, but that’s really because I am still fragile and I know my confidence can easily take a dive, so I don’t share to protect myself.
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I just have enough confidence for right now, for what I’m doing at this moment and maybe the next, but I’m not sure I have enough for what comes after that.
“Am I mad for thinking I can do this?”
“Do you think I’m crazy?”
My message history is full of these questions and a million other ways of questioning my sanity.
For the last 8 months or so these conversations have served as my private, unfiltered Twitter feeds. The safe home for my fears, dreams and everything in between.
Dearest confidants, I’d like to take this moment to publically apologize for the many times I asked you if I was mad and crazy to think that I could do this. Thank you for your patience and gentleness with my fragile confidence.
Do You Want to Be Right or In?
Would you rather be right or in the confidence of someone you care about?
Seriously, are you more committed to being right and being heard than considering you might be wrong and listening?
I am telling you that when someone treats me like I’m stupid I have zero interest in disclosing something magical I’m working on or even more secretly the things that scare me and keep me up at night.
You may mean well (I seriously hate this excuse, it’s honestly the most harmful) and you may be tired and someone’s fears might be an inconvenience to you, but how you respond could impact the future of your relationship.
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Think before you respond and better yet just listen, that’s how you build strong relationships.
No matter how hurtful, awkward or darn right uncomfortable this recent experience of feeling unheard and deemed stupid was for me, I believe that in every situation there’s a teaching moment to be found. Or if you’re me a list of what not to do.
Trust me, you don’t want to ruin your relationship.
5 Ways to NOT Make Someone Feel Stupid:
#1. Start with respect and understanding.
When giving advice, attempting to persuade or “ help” anyone with anything, approach them with respect and understanding. Maybe I’m old school or something, but I believe two people do not have to agree to respect or treat the other with compassion.
#2. Listen and don’t dismiss their concerns.
Maybe all they need is an ear or a soundboard for their “problem”? Don’t just dismiss their concerns as stupid or silly, even if you think they are. Everyone struggles with uncertainty, real or imagined, and how they manage them is their choice.
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#3. Don’t make it about you.
It’s not about you and how you may or may not feel or what you think about their position. Too often we get caught in this fight of who is right and who is wrong or in this case stupid. It’s not about what you need from them or what’s easier for you.
#4. Unless they ask, don’t try and “fix it.”
Did they ask for your help? You can offer a solution, but unless they’re willing or interested, don’t push or insult to get your way. Let them vent and know you’re there for them. They’ll come back for advice if they need it.
#5. You are not a salesman unless you are.
Anyone will tell you that an expert salesperson sells with ease without making it feel like you just received a sales pitch. So if you are selling something, if it’s what they want or need and you’re from whom they want to buy, they will. No hard sell required. No need to try and hit it home with “if you don’t then…”.
Timing is Also Everything
This isn’t just about friendships.
I can’t help but think how a similar situation could easily arise in any business relationship, as you’re trying to close a deal with a prospective client.
Those who are interested, will listen and keep listening, they will get back to you, they will reach out to you, they will hire you. If you are catering to your target market, they will come and eat, no forcing or hard selling required.
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And in all things, lead from a place of sharing, caring, dialogue and respect. Maybe they’re interested, but right now just isn’t the time for your “solution.” Or maybe they just aren’t ready or you’re just the wrong fit.
Don’t be hurt or insulted, remember it’s not about you. Always present your suggestions lightly and optimistically, avoiding fearful language. Sometimes people just need a little bit of time to come to the realization on their own.
And if they don’t, it’s all good.
Your Reactions Register
So often we put ourselves out there in our personal and professional lives and sadly sometimes we don’t exactly get love back.
We apply feverously for jobs and are told that we’re just not the right fit, right now or nothing at all. It’s easy to conclude stupidity on either’s part. Get cocky and aggressive like “how could they not hire me, I’m obviously so amazing, they’re stupid” or get discouraged and conclude that “I’m just not good enough, I don’t know enough, I’m stupid.”
Who knows why things unfold the way they do. All we can control is our reaction to situations, leaving doors open as we go rather than feeling rejected.
They may be interested, they may even think that you’re great, but the conditions just aren’t right, or someone or something else is just a better fit for them right now. Yes, these painful reactions can threaten the openness of our relationships, our confidence in ourselves and make us fearful of asking questions, reaching out and sharing our fears and worries.
If this is you, all I can tell you is this, you are good enough. Right now at this moment, you are enough. You know enough and you have something to contribute, just be open and be yourself. Try not to dwell on the letdowns, because every rejection brings you closer to an acceptance. And even if it takes a while, that doesn’t define you or determine your value.
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I’d rather be with stupid any day, than with Mr. or Mrs. I’m Right.
Personally, I try to enjoy my moments of true stupidity, they remind me of my humanity, and I try to laugh about it when I realize it. Like yes, “I still haven’t figured it out and I’m still young enough to make mistakes.”
And I definitely don’t need anyone pointing it out for me to come to this realization.
Change Your Mindset with the Workbook
Are the words of others really getting to you?
Are you hurt when someone makes you feel stupid?
It’s time to not feel hurt, but build up your champion mindset.
What do you do when you feel stupid?