Time To Stop and Think

My friend K had a hard week at work.  Yesterday seemed like it might be the end of her rope for a while, but she’s come out the other side, better, stronger and faster.  She can rebuild.  She has the technology.  I don’t know why I feel like this is a good time to make jokes, but there you have it.  Jokes, I make.  I’m a joke maker.

There’s something she said in the follow-up post, however, that made me stop and think, because it’s something I can relate to:

“I am not so sure that it is a good thing to be a “strong” personality and be not confident with yourself. You would think that the strong part would be able to overcome the lack of confidence.”

I often have the same struggles at work as K.  We are the same, and yet somehow, still very different.  Most of my life, I have felt as though I was the underdog in any given situation, because I didn’t feel as though my personality was strong enough to stand up against the personalities around me.  I frequently felt taken advantage of, or pushed around, or otherwise belittled in some way.  For the first year or two in my current job I felt the same way and little by little over time, I started feeling like I couldn’t live that way anymore.  I started to assert myself more and to verbalize my opinions and feelings about the things going on around me.

Eventually, I came to be known as having a “strong personality” and it was always said like it was a bad thing.  I could never understand why it was that so many people around me are strong personalities and they are successful and “well respected” because of it, but for me it was offensive and inappropriate.

I think K might have touched on what I’m missing.  Is there a difference between being a strong personality or strong willed, so to speak, and having self confidence?  Is that why I get bashed around for being “strong” when others are listened to and followed?  I’m confident about certain aspects of myself.  I’m confident in my intellect, in my ability to look ahead and assess probable outcomes, in my ability to communicate those probable outcomes.  Yet, I’m not especially confident in myself, in my experience, in my worth in these settings.  Do I come across as just negative and abrasive because people don’t listen otherwise?  Do I come across as insecure and trying to overcompensate?

Honestly, I don’t know if I know the answer to these questions, and even if it is the “self confidence” that’s missing, I’m not sure I know how to change this, or fake it.  I guess this is another post without a nice clean, happy ending.  I don’t know the answers, but at least it’s something to think about and be aware of and try to resolve in time.