30 Mar Now I’m looking – insecurity is (nearly) EVERYWHERE!
Since my post a few weeks ago about not knowing as much as you think you should, or being ‘found out’ as a fraud, or looking stupid, I have started to see and hear this feeling of insecurity everywhere! Every meeting I attend, every potential client I speak to, I notice either an undertone of this, or an overt admission of not feeling good enough. It seems to be the human condition…or is it?
Well, there are certainly people around who don’t feel that way, although it seems, not that many! They usually attribute their feelings to things like a happy childhood, a supportive and encouraging family or a thorough training. However, many of my survey respondents (including myself) could claim the same circumstances – yet not leading to the same secure and all-encompassing confidence in their abilities. So although it really seems as if our feelings come from our circumstances, this isn’t in fact the case. People faced with almost identical circumstances can feel very differently about them, resulting in different responses. It turns out our perception of ‘reality’ (whatever reality really is!) is entirely created inside our own heads. Neuroscientists (such as Professor David Eagleman in his excellent recent series ‘The Brain’) explain that although it seems as if the outside world is being simultaneously streamed into our brains though our eyes and ears, this isn’t actually the case. Everything our sense organs detect has to be translated into chemical and electrical signals which are then interpreted by our brain, from which we create a model of what is ‘out there’. We can’t process everything, so our sense organs, and then our brains, are constantly editing and deleting unnecessary information, as well as distorting information to fit with our current models. So our brain is essentially ‘making up’ a version of reality.
If we can do this just with objects and sounds which we are actually there, how much more scope there is for making up versions less tangible things. For example, we can really convince ourselves that we know what other people think about us. We have certain beliefs about our own capabilities in different situations, even though these situations have never arisen (and may never do so). In the same way, we make up beliefs about other people’s capabilities, which, it would seem, we for some reason make up to be superior to our own! And in doing so, we make up a model of the world in which all those ‘other people’ who know so much more than we do, are going to ‘find us out’ and expose us as frauds. And yet it rarely seems to happen. Why do we do this to ourselves?
Whatever the reason, the really good news is that as it’s all made up anyway, we can, in any moment, choose to make up a different version of reality which serves us better…
Are you one of those rare folks who has no idea what I’m talking about? Or are you someone who constantly experiences feelings of insecurity, as if you’ll be found out? I’d love to talk to you – please get in touch!