People tend to react primarily to what is right in front of them. They rarely care to investigate the backstory, the previous struggles, accompanying details or context. Furthermore, the strongest of these reactions from others often comes from reflections of what makes them feel most insecure or uncertain about their own path.
Understand the points mentioned above, and you take an important first step towards learning how to manage both internal and external forms of conflict more effectively because you will begin to see its various origins more clearly.
One of the primary reasons most of us become frustrated when others make false assumptions or snap judgments about us or our work is because few ever see the setbacks or the hours of work spent researching, writing, experimenting, observing or practicing. We’d often like them to, (whether many want to admit it or not), so that the image of us pushing forward, and putting in the hours would further validate the work we’ve done to that point, but most will never even give what’s gone into your project a second thought unless it’s broadcasted or posted about it on social media. The practice of which itself (posting) is oddly enough becoming a bit reminiscent of the “if a tree fell in the woods but nobody was there, did it fall” question posited by many a professor and/or philosopher at one point in time. In the glazed-over eyes of keyboard warriors everywhere, if you didn’t share it, it must not be real, or at the very least- it must not matter!
The fact is that many typically only see our best forward-facing attempt(s) at a given result, and they base their judgments off that and that alone as it’s the information most readily available to them. Renowned behavioral scientist, Nobel Laureate and author Daniel Kahneman would refer to this in part as “the focusing illusion.” A topic we will discuss further in later posts. The point is that it’s not enough to ask yourself why people think how they do, but you must also ask yourself if, at a base level, can you truly blame them? Especially if you’re the one choosing what to show them and what to keep under wraps.
To hide in order to escape judgment or criticism would be an exercise in futility. Perfection is overrated and thankfully more people are realizing that these days, despite the “self-improvement” craze of the past 5+ years. At one point, perfectionism itself even landed me in a hospital for over a year. It was a time of my life that both scarred me and shaped me, and many of you likely have your own version- which is why it’s always critical to share your story instead of concealing it.
As a parting note remember this, regardless of what anyone thinks of your work or your journey, it isn’t always necessary for THEM to know every single detail no matter how much you may want to authenticate yourself. What’s more important is that you have lived, learned, evolved and chosen to share something of value which is far more than most ever attempt to do.
Keep doing it.
Take risks, add value, think critically and try to get others to do the same!