Feeling stupid

There is this thing that I… hate… detest… suffer from… something… the feeling of being stupid.  I’m not sure why exactly I have a thing about this, because I know I don’t know everything, nor do I understand everything, and I’m also quite smart… but feeling stupid is something that sometimes really upsets me.

A case in point happened last week, while I was in a work training course.  We were doing a role-play of a real life scenario, and consequently didn’t have ALL the data.  We were provided with a three page summary of what was happening, and my team were the guinea pigs for this case.  This meant that our team was under the greatest pressure in the case study, we had the least preparation time for the two scenarios (they were back to back), and we’d only just been trained in the theory that we were practising.

Halfway through the first case study, I realised I had no idea of what was going on.  The team I was a part of seemed to have read a completely different case study to the one I had read, well that’s how it felt, and I suddenly felt cast adrift.  In feeling like I’d missed a major point or issue in the case study, I suddenly felt like I was stupid, which really upset me.  Upset me to the point of tears, in a training room with many of my colleagues, and members of my senior leadership team.  So yes, I was feeling stupid, upset and humiliated all at once.

It’s not necessarily about being wrong, because as I said, I don’t know everything, and I will be wrong sometimes.  I think it’s a lot to do with how I feel (I was exhausted at the time of that role play), the amount of stress I’m under, and how important my competence/image is at that moment.  Given how I’m still not feeling 100% sure in my current role, feeling stupid is a really big deal.  The added stress of nearly bursting into tears during the role play was extra stressful and extra humiliating.

I suppose that this really ties into some of the important (and mostly fucked up) messages I got as a child.  Image is important, very important.  Being smart was as important as looking smart (I’m not sure how that works really).  I suppose that me becoming an adult at 3 years of age has kinda warped some of my ideas about what it is to be an adult, and what is and is not important.

Next post – being angry.

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