When I don’t listen to the fear that is actually underneath the refrain of falling short, I can try to fill that horrible emptiness with attempts to ensure my place in the pecking order. It’s not something I am proud of but it feels right to own it. I have the ability to let my fear of being chucked aside guide me down paths I have no desire to be on. The habit of sizing up those around me and bringing them down is easy, and sometimes even fun. But it’s not me.
We hurt others to build ourselves up and out of our pain. Sometimes a snide remark towards my partner will slip out or a judgmental thought about a stranger will parade across my brain. If I give myself a moment, I’ll know that what spurred such nastiness is something so different from whatever the surface criticism was directed at. It’ll be a manifestation of my own fear building up and seeking some sort of relief. And for a split second I do feel a little better. A little smarter, a little more forethinking or organized, a little bit more right and maybe even a little bit better than another person. But actually better? No, not at all.
All this kind of behavior does is leave wounds to both deliverer and receiver. We can become closed off or learn to always have claws at the ready. We become precise in how we cut others down, all in an effort to not feel our own fear of not being enough.
Fear is here to stay. It is hard wired into us to keep us safe. The only thing that will help is asking what does this fear actually need. And as delicious as it can feel to badmouth a coworker or turn yourself into the martyr that has to do all the dishes again, I can promise you that neither of those nasty little chewies is what your fear is actually asking for. It’s asking for some reassurance that you are going to be okay, and that you are perfectly acceptable as you are. You can put the whip and the bitch bat down. Anger and cruelty is not what you need and it’s not who you are.