Feeling the need to prove ourselves is a habit that results from believing that we need to defend ourselves against attack or criticism about who we are or how we live. We may know deep down that we are well, happy and whole but in public or when faced with criticism or doubt, feel at a loss as to how to show this and revert to self defense mechanisms that operate from a place of insecurity.
There are certain people in everybody’s lives who don’t seem to respect boundaries, don’t make the effort to communicate in a way that is respectful of another person’s wishes or desires or are so consumed with their own insecurities that they act in ways designed to provoke self doubt and worry in others.
There are also people who innocently project their fears and conditioned beliefs onto those around them in a bid to keep them safe and protected.
Finally, there are people that we misunderstand and react to in ways that are heightened and overly emotional.
When it comes to feeling that we need to prove ourselves, there may be an element of feeling shame or guilt over past mistakes that makes us feel especially vulnerable, particularly if we feel someone is trying to ‘expose’ us. Growth happens when we forgive ourselves for our indiscretions and bad judgements and reflect on our own innocence in believing that acting as we did would make us feel better.
When we move on from self judgement and feelings of guilt and shame, we begin to operate from love and health and act in ways that are beneficial to our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. Experiencing feelings of panic because someone is going ‘show the world who we really are’ is not only unhelpful but untrue.
Who we really are is the energy of love; perfect, whole, healthy. When we let go of fear that we will be shown to be other than this, we choose to operate from the space of health within. We can also see that anybody trying to make us look bad is suffering on some level and mistaken in the belief that attacking or belittling someone else will relieve their own pain and make them look better to others.
We live in a society that benefits from miscommunication, insecurity and the need to prove ourselves. But what does this do for us on an emotional, psychological and physical level?
When we feel a constant need to prove ourselves, we lose sight of our wellbeing. We give up our own truth in order to operate within the confines of another person’s reality. We cannot convince other people of something they refuse or are unable to see because of their own belief system and the exhausting cycle of attack, defense, grief and worry leads to us feeling wiped out on every level.
We cannot avoid people for the rest of our lives and some of our harshest critics may be people that we want to maintain a relationship with. Likewise, we may also be misunderstanding other people’s communication and reacting to a threat that is not even there. For these reasons and many others, reverting to a space within that allows us to trust in ourselves, observe the ego and our thoughts of worry and stress and act instead in our own best interests is our best way forwards during these interactions.
So, how do we let go of the need to prove ourselves to others?
- Take a breath as soon as we feel attacked or judged. Reacting from a space of hurt and panic will not help us personally and may be ceased upon by another person as evidence that they are correct in their assumption or opinion about who we are or who we aren’t.
- Respond from a place of self love. This means not harming ourselves by reacting to the other person and may be as simple as saying, “I’m uncomfortable with this conversation”, changing the topic, remaining silent, calmly explaining we will not be defending ourselves or excusing ourselves from the situation.
- Let our thoughts flow. When we are flooded with adrenaline as the body tries to decide whether we should fight or take flight, it can feel like second nature to act on our every thought. But fast and noisy thinking is rarely helpful to us. Hindsight is so often wise because we are no longer in the feeling of the situation and able to get a better perspective on it. If we can remain quiet within, we are more likely to find a way of dealing with the situation that is helpful to us.
- Forgive ourselves if we do react. If somebody wants to provoke us into feeling the need to prove ourselves and we react to the stress we feel in response to that, they may call us out on our behaviour but we need to remember that we are human. Of course we have moments when we feel less than or frightened or confused and some people may use this as an example of where we are failing or not good enough but that doesn’t make it true. Forgiving ourselves for allowing another person to provoke us into feeling we need to prove ourselves is a self loving act that can only benefit us and help us evolve past the need to engage in battles begun by others.
- Forgive the other person. We are complex individuals with layers of conditioning to break through, operating in a society designed to oppress us and profit from our confusion and pain. Each of us has our own path and we are walking it in the way that makes sense to us. If we can try to have compassion for the person forcing us to prove ourselves, we may respond to them more lightly and kindly than if we see them as our adversary and attacker.
- Understand that we may be misreading the situation. If we assume we are actually not under attack and not being called on to prove ourselves, it removes a lot of tension and struggle from the situation and we can relax and communicate from a more peaceful and loving space.
- Realise that in every day life we never have to show or prove anything to anybody. If we are operating from health, we can trust our intuition and self awareness and shrug off other people’s criticisms or attacks.
It is very difficult for us to try to provide evidence of what we believe or who we are when we feel under threat and unless we are enjoying an interaction during which we wish to demonstrate our position, it is often useless and unhelpful for us.
We are the perfect, divine expression of consciousness. When we let go of the need to prove ourselves and instead allow ourselves to stay connected to our truth, we are more likely to remain clam and peaceful. When we remember who we really are, we know that wellbeing will keep us safe. In the face of others’ demands and our own misconceptions about what is being asked of us, we are lead by wellbeing to respond in a way that is loving and helpful for ourselves. And in times when we do react, we can revert to wellbeing by forgiving ourselves for the innocent belief that reacting to the judgements of others will make us feel better and let go of the situation so that we can move on and enjoy who we know we really are.