Superiority, Ego, and Confidence – Jessi Kneeland

I not too long ago re-watched some movies of me doing musical theater in highschool (lol yep), and began pondering quite a bit about confidence.

Trying again on that point, I bear in mind feeling assured.

Granted loads of my confidence got here from self-objectification, nevertheless it additionally got here from the truth that I understood myself to be humorous, sensible, likeable, and gifted. Most days I felt like a “good particular person” (no matter which means) with loads of potential.

I knew some folks didn’t like me after all, and typically the teenage angst-cocktail of self-consciousness, disgrace, loneliness, and feeling misunderstood overtook me. However typically I preferred (and typically even beloved) myself as an individual.

It was bizarre to look at myself belting out “Good day Dolly” on stage wanting so assured, as a result of most of my self-concept was shaped in my twenties, and couldn’t have been additional away from confidence.

The fast model of the story is that after a traumatizing study-abroad journey at eighteen, I moved to NYC to pursue appearing, and realized that everybody was rather more gifted, sensible, and humorous than me, and my confidence fully crashed.

The aftermath of my trauma mixed with the jarring transfer from a small rural city to NYC had a huge effect on my persona. I had all the time been a reasonably heat particular person, however I out of the blue discovered myself being chilly, defensive, anxious, indignant, shut down, numb, and even outright nasty to folks with out realizing why.

I felt hijacked by some form of darkish and horrible demon, and it known as into query my whole sense of self. I figured if this nasty, chilly, numb model of me is me, then I will need to have simply been mendacity to myself (and everybody else) earlier than.

I didn’t know what different conclusion to attract than that my beforehand sort and constructive self-assessment had been fully flawed. This truth was in and of itself embarrassing and shameful, as a result of it meant that as an alternative of being “assured” in highschool I had been “delusional,” “useless,” and “narcissistic.”

Ugh. Nothing is worse than a girl who likes herself an excessive amount of; nothing extra humiliating than an excessively assured girl.

I used to be mortified, and the disgrace simply made my anxiousness, anger, numbness, defensiveness, and nastiness worse. It rolled into crippling social anxiousness, imposter syndrome, fixed emotions of insecurity, and self-sabotaging behaviors. It rolled into devastating physique hatred, a sense that nothing mattered, and the existential disaster of deep melancholy.

The bizarre factor is that even whereas I felt fully nugatory, I nonetheless additionally felt a form of haughty superiority. I concurrently hated myself, and likewise seemed round and felt empirically higher than everybody else.

The prevalence was by no means based mostly in something actual; it was form of amorphous, and sometimes directed at tearing different folks down. For instance, if I met somebody stunning I’d assume “she’s not even that fairly,” and if I noticed somebody succeeding in a artistic house I’d assume “I may have finished that.”

It was virtually like feeling assured, besides that my feeling daily was one among self-loathing and disgust—made all the more severe for having such nasty, judgy, imply ideas.

Fortunately, I can look again now and say that I’m not a horrible monster of darkness, hatred, and delusion. I used to be simply coping with unresolved trauma and had fully misplaced contact with my core, true self. Over a few years nevertheless, I  was capable of each faucet again into that model of myself, and likewise faucet again into the boldness it gave me.

I’m humorous.
I’m sensible.
I’m gifted.

Don’t get me flawed, tapping again into it wasn’t straightforward, and I’m past grateful to the years of remedy, teaching, and therapeutic work that helped me get there. Nevertheless it was fascinating to look again at these highschool movies and notice that regardless of a decade-long hiatus within the center, what offers me confidence and a sense of security and worthiness these days is nearly precisely the identical stuff that gave it to me after I was fifteen.

I began questioning about that bitchy “superiority” I felt after trauma, and whether or not it may need simply been a form of distorted model of my outdated confidence; a twisted and broken model of my beforehand constructive self-assessment.

This concept felt heat, and resonant… particularly after I thought-about what number of of my purchasers specific one thing comparable.

Numerous purchasers specific (self-proclaimed) delusional, narcissistic, ego-centric, superior ideas of themselves, all blended up with disgrace, embarrassment, anxiousness, melancholy, and a sense of complete worthlessness.

That is very true with regards to physique picture and perfectionism. Typically purchasers expertise a form of double-sided coin of disgrace and vanity, wherein they really feel that they’re extra enticing (or have extra potential to be “good”) than different folks, whereas additionally feeling fully nugatory and disgusting.

I not too long ago steered to a consumer that maybe her judgy “higher than different folks” ideas (a large supply of disgrace for her, since she felt they meant she was heartless and “imply”) had been really simply remnants of her core self; her core confidence attempting to poke by the inflexible partitions of disgrace and trauma.

She stated that resonated, and spoke of being a really assured and completely satisfied small little one. After I requested her when that modified, she instantly spoke of a really scary state of affairs that occurred when she was about eight, after which she was stuffed with disgrace, self-doubt, an absence of self-trust, and a sense of being “dangerous.”

Approving of ourselves is our pure state, nevertheless it will get disrupted (particularly in extremely delicate people) by trauma, concern, ache, and disgrace. It appears then that we might all like ourselves and really feel assured if solely we may establish with the selves that we’re once we really feel protected.

Sadly we stay in a world the place feeling protected is extraordinarily troublesome; the place so many people are coping with traumas that have an effect on our conduct, persona, choices, id, and physique picture with out us even realizing it.

To not point out the truth that we stay in a world the place liking your self makes you unbearably weak; the place it really feels safer to destroy your self than let different folks destroy you.

The reality is that after you’ve finished the therapeutic required to faucet into true and genuine confidence, it’s by no means on a hierarchy of comparability—it’s nearly you, and the way you’re feeling about your self.

However that’s almost not possible to entry when there’s a bunch of trauma/concern/disgrace/ache in the best way.

So what if as an alternative of judging your self for having such conflicting ideas of superiority/inferiority, you acknowledged that perhaps that’s your genuine confidence doing it’s finest to shine by?

Possibly it’s the closest factor you possibly can entry proper now to the sincere self-understanding that you’re sensible, humorous, gifted, and worthy of fine issues.

What would it not seem like to begin welcoming, re-framing, and even nurturing this a part of you, as an alternative of rejecting it as delusion, vainness, or ego?


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