2 Forms of Omission of Personal Information — Which are You?
The information you leave out says a lot about you.
Human beings are complex creatures. No one is completely good or bad. We all have our own share of vulnerabilities and strengths. This is the reality of life. There is nothing embarrassing about it.
Truth be told, our characteristics do not change no matter how often we make mention of them.
A woman who compliments herself regularly for her good looks does not become more beautiful. Similarly, a man who criticizes himself for his carelessness does not suddenly become more careless. If anything, the increased awareness of his own carelessness may make him more careful.
With that said, we do not cease making comments about ourselves. Somehow, we are all a little self-obsessed. Throughout the day, we continue to make mention of our strengths and vulnerabilities. This is a form of self awareness and is a completely normal practice.
However, there are two groups of people who take this practice to the extreme and only make mention of their strengths or vulnerabilities.
I find these two groups of people absolutely fascinating. They both have slightly distorted world views. Both groups have warped perspectives of the stranger’s gaze. I wish to discuss these two perspectives in this article below.
The Vulnerability Omission
The first group of people is the far more common group — The group of people who makes mention of only their strengths and takes special care to omit any sign vulnerability in their discourse.
This group of people also have the tendency to defend themselves fiercely when others make mention of their vulnerabilities. They are like walking Facebook profiles — constantly only showcasing the good and leaving out the bad.
On first sight, this group of people may be perceived as narcissistic and self-obsessed. This is however, only a cover. In my opinion, these are the people who have very severe self esteem issues. They are deeply aware of their own weaknesses. In fact, they are so aware of their weaknesses that it makes them feel like an outsider to the general population.
In their eyes, the general population is perfect. Others out there are much better than they will ever be. In their opinion, the elusive other lacks any form of experience or empathy for weakness.
As a result, this group of people are terrified of revealing any form of vulnerability to others. They are afraid of being judged and condemned.
To put simply, these people have a child’s perspective of the stranger’s gaze. They believe that they are intrinsically defective and everyone else is superior to them. Thus, they put it upon themselves to act as imposters to gain the approval of others.
Like children, these people prance around like actors all day long singing praises about themselves trying hard to convince others that they are perfect and worthy to be accepted and loved.
Truth be told, to the trained eye, their weaknesses are ever salient. After a brief period of interaction with these people, the conversations begin to feel contrived and uncomfortable. It feels like a silly farce. In trying so hard to fit in, these people become pretentious and shallow.
To these people, my advice is: Just relax and be yourself. Underneath our glamorous exteriors, we are all the same. You are not specially flawed in anyway. We all fart uncontrollably in public sometimes. We all have bad hair days. We are all guilty of a wide variety of sins from time to time. I will not judge you based on your vulnerabilities. In fact, if you are honest enough to share them with me, I will feel a sense of closeness to you that I have never felt before. You are weak as I am and I feel similar to you. So drop the farce and just be you.
The Strengths Omission
The second group of people are less common but nonetheless, ever present in our society. They are the group of people who are afraid of revealing any form of strengths to others. They are self-deprecating and often try to deflect any form of praise.
As opposed as the first group, this group of people have at least a fairly good idea of what the general population are thinking. They are aware that if they revealed too much strength, they would be viewed as a threat to others. Hence, their strategy to survive at work is usually to stay below the radar and to build the egos of others up while pushing themselves down as much as possible.
The downside to this strategy is that these people tend to play down their achievements so much that they eventually convince themselves and others that they do not deserve promotions or increments. Hence, they may survive at work but stay stagnated.
In their private lives, these people tend to select spouses and friends who love to talk and hate to listen. In doing so, they seldom get the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings. As a result, their feelings are seldom validated and their thoughts never worked through. Due to that, they remain stagnated in their emotional and intellectual development.
To put simply, these people tend to have a overly harsh perspective of the stranger’s gaze. They imagine that everyone out there (including their loved ones) is deeply insecure and greatly prone to envy. Hence, they are afraid of revealing any semblance of strength.
This is simply not true. While we are all guilty of envy from time to time, most of us have enough love and kindness within us to tolerate and even admire the talents of others.
To these people I wish to say the following: Please have a better impression of others. Humans are not all so insecure that we cannot tolerate your strengths and achievements. We won’t be envious of your strengths. Most of us would ignore them and some of us may even admire them. Be brave to share your thoughts with us. We want to know more about you. You can bring so much to the table. Please stop shortchanging yourself.
I would like to conclude with a quote by C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity:
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”
Be brave and be honest with yourself and others about who you really are. Please stop omitting information about yourself. This way, you can live freely and happily.