Today, I want to talk about confidence. In particular, I want to take a look at self-confidence when people are putting you down.
Most of us have people in our lives that undermine our self-confidence. They give us a punch here and a punch there, purely so they can increase their own feelings of self-worth. We’ve all experienced this at some point, and the only thing that differs is exactly how they punch us.
This is an interesting concept because sometimes you get a full-throttle punch right to the stomach, and there are other times when they’re side jabs. And of course, there’s also the sucker punch that comes out of nowhere and leaves you thinking, “What the heck? Did they really say that?”
We have to learn to analyze how the people in our lives operate in terms of how they put us down. Let’s jump on in and take a closer look at exactly that.
The Full-Throttle Approach
This is the easiest type of punch to identify because there’s no subtlety there. You can’t miss these because they’re aimed right at the face.
An example in my life comes from my father, God rest his soul, who took a full throttle approach to me when I told him at the age of eighteen that I wanted to go to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York because I wanted to be a fashion designer.
My father got in my face and started screaming at me, saying, “Even if you go to New York, you’ll never be a fashion designer, and on top of that, you’ll get your throat slit.” I was like, “Oh my god! I can’t believe you’re saying this!” It was super dramatic, especially for an eighteen-year-old who was basically just trying to find their way.
Later on, I realized that it was all about self-preservation. My father had a horrific childhood, and I realized when I was in my thirties that he was Linus and I was his blue blanket. In case you missed the reference, Linus is a character from Peanuts who used to carry a blue security blanket around in the hope that it would keep him safe.
I realized that my father was putting me down out of self-preservation. He wanted to keep me close to him because if I left, it would have been a threat to his entire reality. I understand why he said what he said and I forgive him for it, but I wish I’d known then what I know now.
I also had a relative who attacked me with side punches. As some of you already know, I’m bipolar. I’ve always been open about that and have no problem talking about it, but people have occasionally used it as a way to attack me.
When I was younger, my sibling had a friend that I’ll call Ann. One time, when I was in the room with them, they were saying, “Ann is crazy! She’s absolutely crazy!”
What my sibling didn’t know was that I knew Ann, and that I knew Ann was bipolar. Because of that, they were basically saying in an indirect way that I was crazy, too. This hurt, especially because they were fifteen years older than I was and so they should have known better.
No one likes to be put down, and I took it to heart at the time. Later on, though, I realized that she was only putting me down because she was jealous of me because I was the favorite child. Sibling rivalry can manifest itself in some ugly ways.
An example of a sucker punch comes via my father’s accountant, who once told me that the only way I’d ever make money was by marrying someone rich. Fortunately, I was able to prove him wrong by starting my own company, Pichy LLC.
Looking back at the accountant, I can see that he wasn’t very happy with his own situation in life, and so he was just putting me down to try to make himself feel superior. After all, I was his boss’s daughter.
Sucker punches are easier to spot than the full-throttle approach but harder to spot than those side-punches, which can often be sneaky, subtle and underhanded. Ideally, you should be on the lookout for all three of them.
I want you to start examining the way that people approach you. Once you start spotting how they approach you, you’ll be better placed to figure out how to deal with them. Never let another person’s opinion, words or behavior towards you make you think anything other than that they’re fundamentally suffering, deep down in their soul. They’re only putting you down so that they can feel superior themselves.
It’s sad but it’s also true, and once you know that, it’s easier for you to have empathy and compassion towards them. You’ll need to develop a metaphorical suit of armor that blocks their arrows of pain so that you can turn to spot which direction they’re coming from. The arrows are being launched from a place of true pain. You have something that they want but can’t have.
Each and every one of us is special in our own right, and the people who have a tendency to put you down are doing so because they haven’t found their own specialness within their heart. If you have the patience, you can help them to find that specialness. And if you don’t, you can simply say, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve moved on.”
And so there you have it – that’s how you can find confidence when people keep putting you down and taking swipes at you, whether that’s via the full-throttle approach, a side punch or a sucker punch.
I hope that you’ve found this advice useful. If you want more tips, tricks and advice then go ahead and subscribe to my YouTube channel, Pichi’s Maverick Motivation, for more. I’ll see you soon!