Being self-assured yields kindness and contentment. This is contrary to what most of us were taught, and yet I’m increasingly sure that it is true. This is why, in my recent post about being self-assured, I questioned the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary about words “related” to self-assured: vain, egotistical, pompous.
In my mind, being self-assured means being on one’s own team, with a commitment to working on the skills and internal resources that help us through new challenges. It means having trust in one’s own ability to show up and figure it out regardless of what life throws our way.
I think there is a real problem when we equate working on things like positive self-talk, emotional regulation, wellness, and self-care with being “vain” “egotistical” and “selfish.” I hear this quite frequently in my office. Many really nice people think it’s selfish to be in therapy or to take time to help themselves feel better. No, I say. Taking time to feel well and gain helpful skills is about the best community service you can do.
Let me explain with an example. Who would you rather spend time with: A.) a person who is generally pretty upbeat who has a fairly predictable range of emotions and reactions and generally understanding and helpful OR B.) a person who does the opposite, who bombards you with negativity, complaining, yelling, the silent treatment, or aggression for reasons that either you don’t understand or are out of proportion to the situation and whom you generously dub “difficult.”
I admit that most of us are probably somewhere in the middle of Person A and Person B. No one is calm and collected all the time, and that’s probably a good thing. But my point is, being more self-assured is something that is quite desirable. It’s the underlying trait that makes people truly kind, steady, and easy to be around.
If we have emotional “stuff” bugging us, as we all will at many points in our lives, it requires attention and work. Otherwise, emotions bubble up and come out in ways that invariably impact others. Always. I get the “I don’t want to be selfish” concern, but taking care of your emotional life is not selfish. Not one little bit. NOT taking care of your emotional life will keep you inching towards being Person B. Don’t be Person B. It’s miserable.
Being on the journey towards increasing self-assurance is kind to yourself and to the world. It is not selfish. Selfishness is the product of unmet emotional needs always coming to the surface. Selfishness is needing to drag down others with your oozing and overwhelming needs, that only you can really learn to fully address. Others are there for validation, encouragement, listening, and even cheerleading. They are not there to manage your feelings. If you are managing your feelings (not denying, pushing away, projecting onto others but really feeling, owning and working through them), you are contributing positively to the world.
I’m no mathematician, but I think more self-assured people=a better world.
What do you think?