January 31, 2021•397 words
Shame and embarrassment, an instinct to not want to go against the grain… if I think about it, they are more of an enemy than a friend.
Theoretically, their development makes sense. Collective thinking is one of humanity's important traits; instinctively following the path of others, the path of the pack, should put decisions in the hands of leaders and/or The judgment of the group as a whole. Rather than doing that, however, these traits seem to simply apply social pressure on individuals not to go out of their areas of comfort or expertise - i.e. they're not going to learn anything or try anything new.
I find that they are holding me back. My instincts tell me not to try to engage with people older and more intelligent than me, to 'stay in my lane', to remain silent when others remain silent. In essence: be the average person. This is not, by definition, a bad thing; in these situations that I am encountering, however, it is not exactly my goal.
Let me give you an example. In a meeting earlier this week, I was in attendance among a majority of people that were older than me. They clearly had stronger bonds with each other and the meeting's host than I did, so my instincts told me to be quiet and wait until I knew everyone better to start speaking up. these in stinks would have maybe another face in the crowd, someone just showing up and then leaving without saying a word.
I am not sure why, but I did chime in. I had something to contribute, so I just unmuted and added it. Then I continued with it, and I ended up actually having a conversation with these people I'd otherwise have no way to talk to (at least, according to my instincts lol). I absolutely do not regret doing it; also I feel much more a part of that group than I did before, even after just one high-participation meeting.
Overcoming my fear of/instinct against shame and embarrassment was not only not embarrassing; it was empowering.
I will definitely have to practice this more; I don’t know if these feelings will lessen if practice fighting or even just ignoring them, I but I believe that building the skills to overcome these instincts when they’re not helping will aid in driving to future success.