I used to get intimidated by people so easily. People I thought were bigger and better than me. I’d shake and stutter and make myself as small as possible. I’d fill my words with ‘I’m sorry’s’, having nothing in particular to apologize for. I’d hide the fierceness that has always lived within me.
Over the past few years there’s been a major shift in me. An internal shift that’s come from a ton of work on myself, from challenging the perspective I had developed over way too many years.
I’ve taken risks, I’ve taken time to be on my own and figure out who I am (and who I’m not), and I’ve challenged the rules I was taught to live my life by.
Ironically, in many ways life has come full circle. I’m back working as a lawyer and I’m living in a place I thought I had left forever, but now surprisingly enjoy.
But I’m not the same. I’ve changed. And so these old but new roles fit so differently. And I feel gratitude to the Universe for showing me this 360 degree perspective.
One major shift I’ve experienced is how I feel about the people around me. People don’t scare me anymore. People I used to view on the highest of pedestals, towering over quivering me.
I no longer quiver. They no longer tower.
If you are often intimidated by others, here are a few things I’ve learned along they way. I hope they help you see that you deserve to stand strongly amongst even your greatest idols, “superiors”, and authority figures.
1. The person you’re intimidated by is human.
Even your biggest idol, or the head of the company you answer to, or whoever it is that makes your knees shake, is still just a person. They have family issues, daddy issues, mother issues, insecurities, things they’re trying to prove, obstacles they’re trying to overcome, fears they’re dealing with, people they’re hoping to impress, bills they have to pay, and feelings they’re trying to protect. And they all poop in the morning, floss their teeth at night, cry when they’re alone, and do whatever else it is that makes us completely and utterly human.
They are no different from you. No better. No worse.
I had quite a few people that I idolized, that I was so intimidated to meet, and then upon meeting and interacting with them shockingly found that not only were some of them not the people I thought they were, they were sometimes even ego driven, rude and judgmental of those around them (including a famed celebrity whose name I won’t mention!). It’s all love, we all have our own demons to battle but after enough of these experiences I started to question the values I so quickly assigned to those who intimidated me.
We often idolize those in powerful positions. But power doesn’t always come with tact or with the gentleness we should all strive to treat one another with. Power is just as likely to accompany a fragile ego as is insecurity. And power fueling a fragile ego can be a particularly troublesome combination.
With enough of these experiences, I learned to change the way I judge people.
“Powerful” people are those who impact me deeply, spiritually,
lovingly, regardless of what their resumes are stacked with.
Powerful people are the people I welcome into my life, who welcome
me back, who fill me with positivity, and who teach me how to grow.
This is not to say that some of the people I idolized or admired didn’t turn out to be some of the most loving, generous and kind people I know. They absolutely did. But again, I see them now for the love they share with the world, not for merely their title or “power”.
3. Separate your own ego.
I used to think I was egoless, because I felt insecure, so where’s the ego there? But it is there. Ego is just as involved in insecurity as it is in arrogance. You’re worried about how the world is perceiving you. You’re fearing people will spot your imperfections. You’re attached to and driven by the opinions of others.
Acknowledge your ego. Know that if your response to someone is based on fear, it’s your ego talking, telling you you’re not good enough. The more aware of it you are, the more you can learn to separate from it and send it love, instead of letting it control you and your emotions.
4. Don’t posture — but do stand tall.
Never pretend to be someone you’re not in order to impress anybody. Fakeness is oddly transparent, especially on those who feel insecure to begin with.
Alway strive for authenticity.
Be who you are, the best version of who you are.
Those who don’t accept that version of you, are not meant to be in your life, no matter how special or admired they may seem to be. Wish them well and move on.
There is such beauty in the authenticity that comes from a place of humble self-love and acceptance, instead of a place of ego driven fear. Find that place and you will stand tall genuinely, instead of pretending to be someone you’re not and posturing from insecurity.
5. Understand your own worth.
To be the best version of who you are, you must first accept who you are, whole heartedly. Stop fighting against yourself. Put your inner battles to rest. Accept yourself. Accept your history. Accept the flaws you cannot change and grow in all the ways you can. Rewrite the internal story you’ve been telling about yourself into a story of triumph.
The people who intimidate you are not worth more than you. They are not better than you. They are not more deserving. They are not luckier.
We are all the same and we are all just trying to find our way
in this world and heal our souls in the process.
To do so we must look internally, with love and gratitude,
not outwardly with envy and lack.
Own who you are. Own your experiences. Own your strengths and even your weaknesses. Stand strong in all that makes you, you.
6. Approach everyone with love.
Lastly, one of the best ways I’ve learned to lose all intimidation of others is to assume that everyone I meet already loves me. And I assume that they are lovable as well. It’s amazing how quickly this technique can soften up even the harshest and scariest of people.
If you approach people assuming that they won’t like you or that they’ll hurt you in some way, chances are they won’t like you or they’ll hurt you in some way.
Our lives are the fruits of our thoughts.
Believe in the good in you. Believe that others will see it, and so they will.
Soon enough you’ll see, that there’s no reason to be so intimidated by others, you have way too much to give and you are open to all you wish to receive.
Overcoming Cruel Words Cheat Sheet
Never allow cruel, belittling or condescending words to steal your self-esteem again. Use this cheat sheet to quickly heal and turn those words into something empowering.