Looking back on my post about the trust bank, I’m starting to see the amazing similarities between the concept of the trust bank and almost every other topic that has to do with interaction and relationships between people.
Remember that episode of The Office where Michael falls into the Koi Pond?
His initial defensive and blame-shifting view put up a wall that his co workers inevitably tried to break down. But the second he took Jim’s advice and tore down his wall, making fun of himself for his stupid mistake and referencing his humanity, people immediately gave him a break and began to lose interest in teasing him.
Of course he took making fun of himself way way too far and ended up running into his office sobbing — but that’s not the point.
If you default to humility and self-deprecation, the people around you will automatically fill the void for you. This is not some hyper-narcissistic way of getting people to build you up, just a way of showing others that you are a human being, just like them. Share your humanity with others and they will reciprocate to share their humanity with you.
I’m no expert on the subject. As a 24 year old I can’t count on my fingers and toes the times I’ve put up a wall of assurance and self-confidence to protect my mushy, soft interior. I also have a big nose! But I’m over it. I can’t change who I am and I’m stuck with ‘me’ for the rest of my life — like it or not. Vulnerability is hard – especially for men. We learn to “man up” early and that impulse to broadcast strength and infallibility no matter what the circumstance is overcome by very few.
That being said, my experience is unique and valuable to me, and even though many many others could probably offer better advice, if there is one person that benefits from my words in any way, I consider that a win. I’m not saying to cry every day and tell everyone about your feelings, you don’t want to come off as a complainer or someone looking for sympathy. All I’m saying is it’s helped me a lot being self-aware, open, and honest with my flaws and shortcomings, because it has had a humanizing effect on my personality that has allowed me greater empathy with those around me and those I care to keep in my life.
I’ve found that the ones that try the hardest to project a certain image come off as douchey and insecure, while the ‘coolest’ and people most fun to be around are so secure in themselves and their flaws, they automatically make you feel at ease just by their presence. They have this “humility superpower” that allows them to just be themselves without fear or judgement — and even if it does invite itself into their lives, it rolls off and they remain unaffected or they don’t show it.
If you find yourself feeling self-conscious or judged, next time force yourself to have the self-awareness and humility to point out your own flaws and laugh at yourself. There is a quiet strength and power in humility and deference — don’t be afraid to share your flaws with the world.