THE TWO PEOPLE
You reveal what you hide when you need to hide it the most. Long suppressed and hidden, the dark within you oozes out of the concealed pores underneath your light, flawless make-up. Your mask of authenticity is wet through by the authenticity of the dark. The ugly person inside you peeps out, giving you away.
Like everyone else, you have a side you dislike about yourself. The more you dislike the truth, the more you try to keep it away from public view. You start denying the existence of this part so strongly that it becomes an independent, rebellious entity in itself. Rather than your controlling it, it starts controlling you. You feel intimidated by its existence but can't eliminate it either. What choice do you have?
Let the two people that you are—the beautiful and the ugly; the good and the bad; the one that lusts for appreciation and the other: the I-don't-care-what-you-think; the original and the duplicate; the dogmatic and the openminded—accept each other. By accepting the ugly person, you nullify his power on you and create possibilities of making him your source of strength. How our weaknesses birth our strengths is a telling paradox.
Pawan (not his real name), a partner at a boutique consulting firm, had deep insecurities and an obsessive need to hide them. He would notice the slightest of change in people's facial expressions during his interactions and would feel worried about the impression he had left. His overconfidence would often come in conflict with his hidden insecurity. His efforts to appear confident would have the reverse effect on his colleagues, who by then knew how to leverage his insecurities. They would throw a doubtful expression at him, maintain a strategic silence, or praise other partners to disturb his peace of mind. To be disliked or considered less was his nightmare, and to please them he would dole out a freebie, bonus, promotion, or leave depending on his insecurity quotient on that day. It reached a peak as he started spending his own money to buy people's approval. When his bank balance took a massive hit, further worsened by no progress in his career, did he realize that he had to stop. Stop did he but relapsed in a week, neutralizing all the confidence he had built by resisting his insecurities. It didn't take him long to identify his self-destructive patterns.
Though Pawan was aware of his problem, it cost him a major setback to acknowledge his deep insecurities. We worked together to enable his insecurity to be friends with his outer confidence. Pawan, over a period of 16 months, channeled his insecurities into creating extraordinarily rare output at work. With rigorous practice, he transformed his tendency to read expressions into a powerful capacity to objectively empathize with people. He earned recognition and respect.
Pawan still feels insecure but now this insecurity is his fuel for creating value.