How do you feel if you worked really hard for something (let’s say it was for a test & you studied really long & hard to receive that A) only to have someone come alongside you (that did just as well) and say well it must not of been that hard because I did so well? It makes you feel like your effort was wasted and you aren’t as smart as you thought. That is an awful way to feel but now stop and think for a minute – how often do we do that to ourselves? You have to realize that when you discount yourself by saying something along the lines of “that must not have been to hard; I accomplished it” you aren’t only hurting yourself but someone else around you that doesn’t have as much skill or talent or experience as you is even worse! If you are interested in finding out how to stop discounting read on to find three tips I provide you with.You’ve probably met someone like this. You’re in a class, for example, and get an A on a very hard class. The smartest person in the class, who happens to be someone you really can’t stand, says, “Well, it wasn’t all that hard a test. I wouldn’t have been able to do so well on it if it had really been hard.” This person is not being egotistical. She really believes that she couldn’t have done well on the test unless it were an easy test. She is genuinely discounting her skills and knowledge.
But she’s also discounting your skill and ability.
You worked really hard to do well on that test. You studied and practiced problems and really put your all into that test. Now someone smarter and more studious than you is saying she isn’t really all that smart and she only did well because the test was easy.
How do you feel? You feel like your effort was wasted and you’re really not as smart as you thought. The standard was obviously pretty low, if you could get an A on the test. It must not mean much.
That’s a pretty awful way to feel, but how often do we do this to ourselves? I know many times I’ve thought, “That must not have been too hard; I accomplished it.” I discount myself. I put myself down.
But a few years ago I came to realize the damage I do to other people when I discount myself. I’m not just saying I’m not very smart, I’m not very good.
I’m saying someone who doesn’t have as much skill or talent or experience as I am is even worse. I’m saying this person might as well give up, because they’re never going to make it. I’m discounting them, sometimes without even knowing who they are.
I don’t think any of us mean to discount people’s skills, talents, experiences, or anything else about them. I think when we discount ourselves, we only see ourselves and our problems.
But this self-centered view leads us to really hurt people who take our words seriously and literally. They really believe what we’re saying about ourselves and, by extension, about them.
Now, it would be great if we could stop discounting ourselves simply because we are good and able and talented and skilled. That would be awesome, in fact, because it would mean we value ourselves and understand our own true value.
But if we have trouble with that, why can’t we just realize that discounting ourselves hurts others, and have more compassion for them than we show in our self-centered discounting? I believe that if we could just change this one thing in our lives, we could become people we can’t even imagine now.
To stop discounting today:
- Stop the next time you make a negative comment about your abilities.
- Think about how that comment would sound to someone who looks up to you.
- Rephrase the comment so that it shows that you’re surprised you did well, without discounting.