Keep Your Gavel to Yourself: How to Deal With Being Underestimated
“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~Wayne Dyer
Have you ever been in a situation where someone has underestimated you in some way? Whether the offender misjudged your intelligence, your abilities or your strength, how did it make you feel?
Did you begin to believe that person was right, or did you feel defensive or angry because you knew he (or she) were wrong?
Nearly everyone has been on the receiving side of an unfair judgment. People judge you on your looks, your age, your weight, your financial (and parental) status, your address, your religion, your career choices (or lack thereof)–the list goes on and on.
This is especially true if they don’t know you personally, but it can even happen within families and friendships.
Even people who have high levels of self-esteem can find themselves feeling frustrated when they’re misjudged–but those who sometimes feel like they’re not good enough anyway can really struggle with feelings of inadequacy if the right insult gets hurled their way.
So how do you deal with people who underestimate you or misjudge you?
Let It Roll Off Your Back
In some situations, you can just ignore the person because you’ll never see or deal with them again. For example, if you’re at a clothing store and a salesperson or fellow customer makes a rude comment to or about you–it can be really upsetting. But if you think about it, once you leave that store, you may literally never see those people again.
And remember, you get to decide who has the power in this situation, so claim it! Don’t give some stranger the power to ruin your day–choose to be happy instead. (And if it helps you, remember that whole “the best revenge is living well” thing.)
Prove Yourself. Or Not.
If the underestimator is someone you know personally, you’ve got some choices to make. If it’s important to you to change that person’s mind about you, then try to do it through actions rather than words.
Don’t confront him or her or try to defend yourself–if you’re being underestimated, the judger is not likely to actually listen to you anyway and you’ll grow more irritated when they won’t hear you or acknowledge the validity of what you’re saying. That’s just inviting negativity into your life.
But really, you need to first get comfortable with yourself, and who you really want to be. When you are comfortable in your own skin–mentally, physically and emotionally–you aren’t likely to feel the need to prove yourself anyway.
When It Hurts
Sometimes, being underestimated can hurt, especially in personal and professional situations. Whether it hurts your feelings or your pocketbook, it can make you feel badly about yourself and/or the people and situations in your life.
The most important thing to do when this happens is to keep it in perspective–are the people who are judging or underestimating you perfect? It’s highly unlikely. Everyone has flaws–and in most cases, one man’s flaw is another man’s treasure. Embrace yourself and remember that you are perfectly YOU–and that’s really all that matters.
Even though it’s easy to feel negatively when you get judged unfairly, you’re only hurting yourself by doing that. Remember that what you put out into the world comes back to you–like attracts like, so if you’re feeling like you’re unfairly judged all the time, you definitely will be.
Remember too that people who feel the need to constantly judge and belittle others are most likely insecure in themselves in one way or another. That means there’s something wrong with them–not you.
You’re Not Alone
Like I said, nearly everyone has been in this situation. Take me for example. I once worked with someone who seemed to think I wasn’t smart enough to pour myself a cup of coffee, let alone actually do the job I’d been hired to do.
I’ll admit, it really pissed me off–especially because I knew for a fact that I was more experienced and capable than this person. I felt like telling her exactly what I thought of her, too.
And–another admission–I was not having very many nice thoughts of her after she blatantly misjudged me without even asking me who I was and what I could do. (She made an incorrect ASSumption. And you know what happens when people ASSume right?)
But even though I had a strong emotional reaction to this behavior, I stepped back and took a logical look at the situation. If I were to blow up and do the diarrhea of the mouth thing, it would very negatively affect my career–and certainly that particular job. So, I decided to change my mind, and I managed to maintain a professional and fairly friendly relationship with this person, despite my personal feelings. And eventually, she got the clue that I knew what I was doing. We actually became “work friends,” even.
And, for me, making peace and finally being recognized for my abilities was a far better alternative to blowing up and ruining the chance that it would ever happen. The moral of the story? Think before you speak–and don’t let the bastards get you down. 🙂
So how about you? Have you ever felt misjudged or underestimated? How did you deal with it? Tell me your story in the comments!