The older I get, the less I am sure I know. But there are a few things that I feel I know for sure, and one of them is this: There are a whole lot of insecure people in this world. Truth be told, they’re everywhere. Sometimes they’re disguised as the arrogant; other times the woefully kind. I heard recently that you can assume everyone you know is walking around with a broken heart, and I thought that was a good reminder. It’s probably good to remember that everyone is walking around with a backpack full of insecurities, too.
Why is it important to remember this? While I don’t think it’s our job to accommodate the insecurities of those around us, it might be nice to help people work through them when we can. It’s one of the reasons I’ve made a commitment to highlighting the strengths in other people whenever I can. Could I do a better job? I surely could. But I’m willing to bet that I give out sincere praise and admiration more often than most – even when I feel jealous of the other person’s success. I think such small gestures have the potential to have a grand impact.
Truthfully, though, we are mostly responsible for keeping ourselves in tact. We can’t rely on others to build us up, and I’d argue because of those insecurities lurking around in the subconscious of every fearful heart – you can almost count on the opposite. People who are unsure of themselves and their place in the world often don’t hesitate to undermine somebody else or tear them down. Because let’s face it, it’s a whole lot easier to bring someone down to your level than raise yourself up to theirs.
So one thing I find myself doing – and truthfully I’m not sure how I feel about it – is making good use of my dimmer switch. I’m a keen observer of those around me. Understanding what makes people tick is my life’s work, after all. I can detect the insecure in almost any venue and any form they appear. When that happens, I find that don’t hesitate to reach behind me and ever so discreetly turn the knob to my dimmer switch a little to the left. No need to let my light shine too bright in their presence. No good can come of that.
At the end of the day, I’m left feeling unsure. Am I selling myself short or being smart? You be the judge.