We all want to feel accepted. It starts from being very young. If we are lucky, we feel unconditional acceptance from our parents and family. Some don’t, which is truly unfortunate. Our parents and family should be our safe haven of acceptance. With those people, we should feel free to be our true selves. There should be no inhibitions, and we should have no fear of judgement. Unless of course we have done something truly wrong, in which case we should expect a mild case. 🙂
Some people are blessed with true, unconditional confidence in themselves. This is great. Though sometimes this comes across as conceit, true confidence is just that – a belief in oneself. Conceit is a belief that you’re better than everyone else. Not so good. Even though I believe that true confidence is a good thing, I don’t believe that it exists unconditionally. At least not very often. We all harbour feelings of insecurities, no matter who we are, or how wonderful we are. I believe this starts as early as preschool. We venture out of the warm, safe environment that is our home and family, to mingle with a bunch of strangers all day long. Friendships are formed, animosities are formed as well. We want to be friends with a person, but they don’t appear to return our feelings, yet we become too insecure to take the first step and start a conversation. Little Johnny is playing with the blocks and we desperately want to go and play with the blocks too and become friends with little Johnny, but our shyness and fear of rejection stop us.
This only manifests as we continue through school. Some people grow out of their shyness and gain confidence. Others continue to be intimidated. As we become adults, the only thing that changes is the setting. We go from the playground to the workplace. I still believe though that even the most confident of people still have some self doubt. It seems to be part of the human makeup.
Social media doesn’t help sometimes either. The whole terminology of the thing. On Facebook, we have to request to be friends with someone. That person has the power to confirm or ignore you as a friend. Which of course is totally necessary for security reasons, but really, we are brought right back to it again. We say things on Facebook and hope that we get “likes” from our “friends.” The more likes we get, the cooler we are. Here we are, wanting approval again from our peers.
Twitter is the same. Although we should know that our experience and contribution to Twitter is not dependant on how many followers we have, we still get a little jolt in our tummy when you receive the e-mail “So and So is now following you on Twitter.” And the same when we get retweeted. It’s a great feeling. It’s a feeling that something that we wrote was actually read by someone out there and they thought it was important/funny/newsworthy enough to share it with their followers. It all goes back to acceptance and that deep desire to be part of the “cool crowd.” I have actually met several cool people on Twitter, and have learned that the ones really worth following are not really “cliquish” at all and are quite accepting and willing to interact. It’s easy though for someone that has tens of thousands of followers to say “It really doesn’t matter how many followers you have.” 😉 You can follow me on Twitter here by the way. Just sayin.
I know that I’m generalizing here. I know that there are people that post stuff on Facebook and really don’t care how many “likes” they get. I know that if I were to post: “Off to my dentists appointment!” I don’t expect 30 people to say they like that. I’m not that insecure. It does feel good though when I post pictures of my kid and people tell me how cute they think he is. Even though I’m fully aware of how adorable he is and certainly don’t need confirmation of that. 😉 It does feel good to be retweeted by someone or followed back on Twitter. Especially if it’s someone that you really respect. Sometimes though, in life you have to ask for it. You’d be surprised by the response you might get.
Some people are truly confident. Some people are scarily insecure. We all have those feelings of self doubt at times. What we need to do is nurture those feelings of confidence in other people. You can imagine how much easier it would be to have faith in yourself if other people did too. It’s unfortunate but true – some people just like putting other people down. If you look deeply into these peoples heads, you will see that these people who do this are really just so unsure of themselves, that they make themselves feel better by tormenting others and drawing them down. People with true self worth don’t need to bring other people down. If anything, they take the time to try to bring people up.
Today, try to be one of those people that brings someone up. Smile at someone. Encourage them. They’ll feel better and you’ll be surprised at how much better you do too.