Give me confidence! Or some semblance of it.
August 28, 2014 5:32 AM Subscribe
I have a self deprecating sense of humour and I've come to realise that I can take it too far. I can sometimes play dumb and it gives the impression that I don't know what I'm doing/talking about. But at this point in my life/career, I do!! (in certain areas, I think). Help me change my wiring.
posted by scuza to Human Relations (17 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Example. I was working on a project (a live event) with a couple collaborators, and coming into some disagreement with one of them. She was talking about marketing and publicity, to which my joking response was a loud, exaggerated whispered "I don't actually know the difference!" Laughter (score 1 for me). She went on to explain the difference and I TOTALLY KNEW THE DIFFERENCE (and also, we only needed publicity but I digress). Anyway, add a few more examples of this sort of thing that I do and the upshot is that I came across like I don't know what I'm doing, when in actuality we've done two other iterations of this project already that I essentially produced and directed myself while she stayed in the background during crunch time (to be clear, she's a friend-ish, I like her, we just clashed on a few points). On top of that, I've worked in a related field for over 15 years, 10 of those in a creative head of department capacity on multi-million dollar productions, and while there are some differences, I effing know what I'm talking about, or at the very least, I know what I don't know and how to find out. I think (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)
However! I am so hard wired to put myself down and defer to others, regardless of experience, that I think I do myself a disservice. It doesn't inspire others to have confidence in my ability, although in my particular day job I am liked and respected and work hard. It's just when I wade out into other areas where I might feel less sure about this that I put that front and centre, often in a joking way, but ultimately to my detriment.
(I have some theories about having an inferiority complex due to having grown up in an intimidating, strict family and having "respect your elders unconditionally" drummed into me, and being a P.O.C. etc culture etc female etc but that's by the by.)
How do I fix this? My dear partner was the first to point it out properly, and often reminds me that I need to curb it or find some other default mode of humour. He's a bit younger than me and earlier in his career, and he points out how far I've come in mine, and yet, I already have started to defer to him in more than a few instances because he's so confident in his (despite only really having started in the last couple years. He's also awesome and precocious and reminds me that he comes from white middle class privilege but that's by the by).
I think I also do it to disarm and make other people feel smarter or in some way better? Like they don't have to prove themselves because there's already this other dingbat in the group. It's a less helpful version of being the class clown, maybe.
Partner says I'm doing well to notice it after the fact at least, and I'm starting to notice on rare occasions when I'm saying something self-deprecating but I still can't stop myself. Are there any other exercises I can do to speed this along? It's like I put myself down and have to work twice as hard to get people's confidence back, it's just not efficient. Please help!