When I was young and often miserable, I thought that I was the only one in the world who experienced such feelings of insecurity, of confusion, of self-doubt. Even now when I know better I can still drop into the slough, looking at other people as though they are secure, certain.
The reality is that we are all insecure and uncertain to some degree. That is why the personal attack can hurt so much because it damages our sense of self-esteem.
In some ways, there are two Jims.
The personal Jim is still introverted and sometimes shy and uncertain. The professional outward Jim has learned to present as somewhat extroverted, can clearly separate personal from the professional, is not phased by criticism or alternative views expressed within a professional frame.
Sometimes the barriers between the two Jims fray under pressure. When that happens, the old personal Jim can suddenly become dominant, making it hard to cope.
Blogging is a funny mixture because this blog is the personal Jim, but still able to apply the professional frame so that I do not get upset by criticism or by alternative views.
I was reminded of the difference between the two Jims this week by a simple thing. On the one day, I got two compliments for work well done. I just blossomed.
In turn, this got me thinking. We all need reassurance, re-affirmation that we are valuable as individuals. This holds for even the most apparently certain person. So I reminded myself of the need to provide this.
This does not mean bull-shitting. Most people can recognise insincerity. As I see it, it simply means being interested, treating the views and concerns of others as important.