“Why is he not answering my text? I sent it a few hours ago. He doesn’t pay attention to me.” I double check my message threads and discover I never sent the message! Silly me. Notice how quickly I jump to negative assumptions? Where is Roscoe? I call for him and eventually start panicking when he doesn’t appear. Did I forget to let him in? He’s not outside. And then I remember I got something out of my second bedroom, and I check and open the door and he trots out like”What took you so long?” I don’t know, I think why didn’t I notice he came in the room? Simple innocuous explanations for situations that gave me the run around, with frustration and anxiety as the result. I make mistakes and over react. I’m not superior. I’m solidly a member of the masses of people who make mistakes. I’m right in the trenches with the rest of humanity. I think its time for me to get humble.
I really don’t like to admit that I don’t know the answer, or to be embarrassed by my “duh” behaviors. After all I am a smarty-pants and know everything“. Perhaps I’m even infallible! Well, obviously not infallible! I’ve never had a stellar positive body image, but believe me, you can call me fat and I certainly won’t be happy, but call me stupid and I will be enraged. What’s the big deal? To tell the truth I’m not entirely sure, but I have some ideas. In my early school years I was fearful and quiet, but I did get positive attention from my teachers for reading quickly and “knowing the answer”. My hand would fly up and I would be thinking “Pick me , pick me!” I knew the answer 99% of the time and my self esteem was soon tied to having correct answers and understanding. I never wanted to feel like I didn’t know what to do. I was lost in a sea of siblings, with parents too busy to always pay attention to me. I felt like it was up to me to take care of myself, and that meant I needed lots of brain power. Today, I feel sad for that little girl who grabbed at whatever could help her feel more secure.
My experiences in childhood prepared me to value “readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic”. Being a good student was not a bad outcome, but unfortunately “book learnin’” was not the only kind of smarts I needed to be a successful adult. I found out that I couldn’t think my way out of many situations. My emotional intelligence report card was dotted with “F’s”. I actually thought that “dumbing” myself down was a viable way to get whatever outcome I wanted, even if I knew that what I wanted was harmful to me. Many times I knew better, but my warped emotions and emotional reasoning created enough denial to over-rule myself. I allowed myself to feel some superiority because like Yogi, I knew I was “smarter than the average bear.” A lot of good that did me…
So here I am, an older woman, and I’m no longer trying to use my intelligence as currency. My intelligence is a gift, nurtured by my diligence for lifelong learning. I’m more emotionally intelligent now and I know there is heart smart and brain smart. Finally, I have learned that humility is the best antidote to any arrogance I feel intellectually and emotionally.