There’s this little inner voice in my head, lets call her Miss Fifi, yeah that sounds about right I think.
Miss Fifi is independent, can’t be held down and is sure of her personal convictions. One of her favourite main beliefs is that I, Selma, am stupid. This belief of hers is especially true whenever I’m busy with work or a project I need to submit and whenever I’m having a conversation with someone, Miss Fifi is damn near screaming in the back of my head that whatever is coming out of my mouth is daft.
Miss Fifi is an old school gal who has been around since I’ve been able to comprehend my thoughts and the older I get the more I have been more hyper aware of her presence. Miss Fifi, like a lot of old school elders doesn’t have a filter nor does she particularly care for my feelings, she says what she says and I’m left having to pick up the pieces reminding myself that she isn’t right, well not all the time.
I’m trying to figure out whether having her in my life is beneficial or not. In one way I can see how she can be toxic because the more I allow her space to speak in my head the more she can potentially chip away at my confidence, its a fine line between perception and belief.
On the other hand however I kind of see why she is necessary. See at the end of the day no matter what Miss Fifi says, I still wield the power to control how I perceive and react to her criticism. There have been many times where Miss Fifi’s criticism has actually pushed me to perform well beyond what I thought I was capable of. It’s kind of like I’m internally and externally competing with myself and trying to prove myself and Miss Fifi wrong. She has also made me hyper aware of everything I do and say which is both a good and bad thing.
So what’s the art of feeling stupid? I think it’s being comfortable in yourself and humble enough to know that you don’t know it all, that you will have stupid moments and ideas but to be unafraid to express them is where the true art lies. To lower one’s ego and use those feelings of stupidity to open up and grow. Now I’m not saying this feels good, no one likes feeling stupid or being that one in the group or meeting asking stupid questions, yes, people will laugh at you sometimes and yes there will be that person who will outright call you stupid but guess what you were unafraid and open in a world of people who mask themselves.
Plus its not really like you’re stupid you’re just at place where you don’t have specific knowledge on something but opening up about that will allow someone who does have it to guide and correct you.
Its also important to know the difference between positive and negative criticism especially when comes to your own inner critic or Miss Fifi. Miss Fifi doesn’t know that what she is saying is wrong, she can’t percieve that, all she can do is just give you feedback on what she thinks is true. For example if I have a crazy maths equation infront of me that I have to solve when I intially see it, Miss Fifi’s initial response is to tell me I’m stupid and that I can’t do it because she can’t percieve my determination, all she sees is something hard and to her knowledge I don’t have the skills yet to do it right. She doesn’t factor in that I can be determined enough to research the question and with that manage to solve it. I think there’s probably some science behind that too.
Stupidity is human nature but it’s not something that can’t be overcome. I know that Miss Fifi will probably be with me for the rest of my life, I just have to get to a place where I’m more comfortable with that, setting more healthy boundaries. I think if I didn’t have a Miss Fifi I would probably be a narcissistic butt-hole who thinks they are always right and smart. No one likes that person, don’t be that person! I also think it’s not that your inner critic fully thinks you can’t do something it’s just afraid of going through the feelings of possible failure.
So let’s wield our stupidity and use it in a way that makes us more open to growth and advice from others. Let’s be sure to set boundaries with our inner critics but also allow them a space to show us when we are wrong and when we can be better.
Till next time.
Never forget to carpe all the diems.
The pictures included in this post are from Lucy Bellwood’s “100 Demon dialogues” comic book.