It is I, the queen of Wobble City!
Let me tell you a little bit about myself. Generally speaking, I know exactly what I want. I know what I believe in, I know where my boundaries are and I know why I live my life the way I do.
UNLESS something makes me wobble. What would cause me to wobble, you may wonder? A myriad of things / people / situations actually. Mostly people though.
Put me in a sealed room (okay, maybe not entirely sealed − just remove all other humans), give me a pen and a piece of paper and make me write an essay about the life of the Carrot (AKA me), and prepare to be amazed. It’s gonna be spot on, you probably won’t feel the need to question any of what I’ll have written down.
This is probably the most accurate depiction of me, ever*:
Sadly, I’m not as skilled a talker as I’m a writer (I apologise if that makes me seem braggy but it think it’s such a nice way to put it**).
As I mentioned before, situations that make me wobble usually involve the presence of other humans. I barely ever wobble when I’m on my own. Wobbling could be compared to some sort of blackout (you know, like the ones that sometimes happen in the middle of taking a test). When I wobble, I forget who I am, what I believe in, at times even what makes me me. I already described the feeling in a previous post, but I decided that it was time to put the wobbliness back in the spotlight (I’ll refer to it as “The Wobble” from now on).
At the very core of The Wobble, you’ll find my collection of insecurities, gathered in a pit of insufficient self-confidence. In fact, whenever I wobble it’s usually because I’m afraid that I’m not going to like my opponent’s response / reaction to what I’m about to say, and for lack of a more appropriate coping skill, I decide to just refrain from saying what I want to say altogether (usually mid-conversation, which makes it a bit awkward). It goes along the lines of this: I dive into a subject (or maybe someone else does by asking me a question), I start talking, then realise that I’d be super uncomfortable if the reaction to what I’m about to say was any different from how I would like it to be (AKA perfect), change course while talking and eventually end up saying something that’s either incoherent or at least mildly confusing because I obviously say it half-heartedly, as it doesn’t reflect what I meant to say in the first place.
It now seems rather clear to me that The Wobble happens whenever I’m afraid of being invalidated or judged by someone else, whenever I feel like I’m not able to stand up for myself for whatever reason, which is why I then choose to preemptively dodge potentially challenging situations (even the ones that may not even turn out to be challenging). The extent of The Wobble depends on what shape I’m in, which probably doesn’t require any further explanations given that everyone knows that difficult things are even more difficult when one isn’t feeling like a total badass.
It also varies based on the relationship I have with my opponent. I have a hard time standing up for myself when faced with authority figures, which goes a long way back. I remember that as a kid, I couldn’t bear the thought of disappointing my teachers (I probably don’t need to explain that the things I would have considered a disappointment weren’t disappointments for the teachers at all), nor my parents or any other family members, so I was doing everything in my power to make them like me which, among other unrealistic perceptions of mine, contributed to turn me into the people-pleaser*** I probably still am today.
So whenever it’s really important to me that someone’s on my side / likes me / accepts me and/or agrees with me, being authentically me and saying what I mean is quite hard and it’s easy to fall back into old patterns if I don’t pay attention to where my mind is sneaking off to. If on top of that you throw me into a situation that’s already anxiety-inducing to me by default, all my energy is focused on making it out in one piece and standing up for what I believe in may seem even further out of reach.
Here are my top three anxiety-inducing situations, ranked by their likelihood of channeling The Wobble:
- Meeting and interacting with a group of new people (emphasis on group, I’m generally overwhelmed as soon as I have to focus on more than one unfamiliar person)
- Job interviews
This list could easily be continued, but I think you get the gist of it.
Anyways, what to do when The Wobble hits?!
I usually get mad at myself, then chase myself down the rather long road of self-loathing all the while telling myself to stop being so darn “stupid”.
Needless to say that this is quite pointless and the complete opposite of a productive method to tackle the issue.
Once I stop beating myself up, I usually try to forgive myself for being wobbly.
I acknowledge that I’m doing an alright job and that I don’t need to be “perfect” all the time.
After all, I’m only human (/a carrot).
* This is a slight exaggeration for humourous purposes.
** People-pleasing at its finest (→ check out the link below).
*** Here‘s an explanation if you’re not familiar with the term “people-pleaser”.