Insight: Overestimating and underestimating
I just realized: I have shame around overestimating myself. If I overestimate myself and my capabilities, especially in the way that I present myself to the world, and I get caught, then that’s really really shameful. I’m a fraud, I’m an egomaniac, I’m self-absorbed, I’m a hot-air balloon, and whatnot.
Somehow underestimating myself dosen’t carry that same level of shame. Underestimating myself is noble, humble, righteous, virtuous, admirable.
But in reality, underestimating myself is just as bad as overestimating.
By underestimating myself, I hold myself back from doing the things I’m capable of, which ends up robbing other people of the gifts and talents I have to offer.
And underestimating is possibly even worse than overestimating: Since we tend to gravitate towards our self-image, perhaps having a somewhat inflated self-image could possibly help us get there, and be even better positioned to share even greater gifts.
If you’re trying to stay precisely on a given line, but straying to one side of the line is deadly, and straying to the other side is relatively harmless, or even “noble”, guess which side you’re going to err on?
If both are equally bad, there’s a much greater chance of you staying on that line.
That’s how I want to think about underestimating and overestimating myself.
If you’re not willing to overestimate yourself sometimes, you’re bound to underestimate yourself all of the time.