So this isn't one of my typical experiment posts. But I'm having one of those days...one of those months. Where I feel the weight of my responsibilities acutely, piercingly. There is a constant sense that regardless how carefully I consider things, how much I seek and pray and listen, how much I research, analyze and discuss, that someone important will disapprove. Someone whose opinion matters will think I have miscalculated, misjudged, messed up.
Someone will misunderstand me. Someone will think I am incompetent.
I have a fervent need to understand others and be understood. This intense need drives me to ask lots of pointed and direct questions and has managed to cause both the majority of conflicts and resolutions in my life. Consequently, it really bothers me if someone has been hurt by me or thinks poorly of me (or if I even think they might be hurt by or think poorly of me) because they misunderstood something I said or did. I have even been known to get out of bed at 3am to compose an email of explanation and apology to an offended party.
While this may seem like an excellent quality, much of that intense need to clear up misunderstanding is that I am afraid to be thought incompetent. I need people to know that I didn't intend to hurt them. I need them to know I have thought through and researched my decisions. This unrealistic need affects what I am willing to share. For example, "Christian" has come to be associated with so many things unrelated to what I live, I have a particularly hard time discussing my faith without first providing sufficient context. I just need people to understand, if not support, my decisions.
But if I'm really gut-level honest, it's not the fear of being thought incompetent that drives much of what I do, but the fear of actually being found incompetent.