Any time we feign anything, we do so out of fear that without that "persona" to protect us--to make that impression we want--we won't get what we want. This whole way of thinking is secret self-sabotage. It sinks us in our personal and business relationships as surely as a torpedo wrecks the ship it strikes. Learning how to stop this self-sinking is our focus here. Your consideration of the two special insights that follow will start you down the path to a whole new kind of self-command.
- Any person you feel the need to control or dominate--so that he or she will treat you as you "think" you should be treated--will always be in charge of you...and treat you accordingly. Why? Because anyone from whom you want something, psychologically speaking, is always in secret command of you.
- Any action we take to appear strong before another person is actually read by that person as a weakness. If you doubt this finding, review the past interactions and results of your own relationships. The general rule of thumb is that the more you demand or crave the respect of others, the less likely you are to receive it. If you've ever tried to raise children, you know this is true. So it makes no sense to try to change the way others treat you by learning calculated behaviors or attitude techniques in order to appear in charge. The only thing these clever cover-ups really produce is yet another source of secret inner conflict, which, in turn, only fuels further self-sabotage. Besides, what you're really looking for in your relationships isn't command over others--but over yourself. So what's the answer?
Stop trying to be strong. Instead, catch yourself about to act from weakness.
Following are ten examples of where you may be secretly sabotaging yourself while wrongly assuming you're strengthening your position with others.
- Fawning before people to win their favor.
- Expressing contrived concern for someone's well-being.
- Making small talk to cover up nervousness.
- Hanging onto someone's every word.
- Looking for someone's approval.
- Asking if someone is angry with you.
- Fishing for a kind word.
- Trying to impress someone.
- Explaining yourself to others.
The next time you feel as though you're about to fall into one of these self-protecting behaviors, break out of the pattern by giving yourself a quick and simple interior pressure check. This test will help you check for and cancel any undetected weakness that's about to make you sabotage yourself.
Your awareness of any pressure building within you is the proof that it's some form of fear--and not you--that wants to do the explaining, fawning, impressing, blabbing, or whatever that self-sabotaging inner pressure is pushing you to commit. Each time you feel this pressurized urge to give yourself away, silently but solidly refuse to release this pressure by giving into its demands. It may help you to succeed sooner if you know that fear has no voice unless it tricks you into giving it one. Strengthen yourself with awareness. Choosing inner seeing over the wish to be seen by others in a complimentary light stops the cycle of self-sabotage.