I find myself…

People don’t always seem to like that I am a confident person.

Maybe because I’m young.  Maybe because I’m a woman.

I really don’t know.  But I have had many confirm this – one person told me I came across as someone who needed to be knocked down a peg.

Wanting people to like me, I’ve come up with some adaptations in my behavior.

I criticize myself and talk myself down ALL the time.

I talk about being insecure, sloppy, forgetful, clumsy, making mistakes, being disorganized, etc.

Most of it is true – I’m just more forthcoming than others in sharing the inner critiques we all have so no one thinks I’m “too cocky”.

As a result, people find the need to “help” me more.

Essentially, they think I am not able to figure things out on my own, so they give me lots of helpful suggestions that make me feel like they don’t think I’m competent in my work – or my person-hood.  It’s frustrating to say the least.

I find myself caught between wanting to be liked and wanting to be seen as competent.

Can’t I have both?

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Yet I wonder

Today I was driving through an intersection.

I had the right of way, my light was green.

An elder gentleman waiting at the red light perpendicular to me decided to turn right, into my path.

I was able to slow down, but I honked to let him know I was there.

He flipped me off.

Now I know he was the one who made the mistake.  I know it was ok for me to honk to let him know I was there.  I know he was probably upset and flustered and that’s why he did it.

And yet, I wonder, what I did wrong to upset him.

I feel responsible for keeping everyone happy – a pathological need, probably stemming from socially imposed gender norms and my own insecurities.

But sometimes, people get angry at you for reasons you can’t control.

I shouldn’t feel bad.

And yet I wonder….