When you hear the word “pretentious”, the mind usually pictures people who are haughty and condescending, who think of themselves as being above everyone else.
However, the word “pretense” has a much broader meaning. Exhibiting pretense means attempting pass yourself off as something other than your true self.
So a pretentious person can be a someone who “puts on airs”, behaving as if they were superior to others. But the opposite can be true, too – and probably far more commonplace. How many of us think we’re more inferior than we really are?
How often do you belittle yourself and underestimate your own value? It’s a bad habit I fall into more often than I’d care to admit, thinking I’m made more of rusty scrap metal than of gold.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about pretense from both of these sides. When I’m busy with work, I sometimes catch myself swelling with self-importance, thinking that I don’t have time for other important activities, like keeping in touch with friends or spending time with my wife and daughter.
When work is slow, I sometimes forget about all talents and abilities I have, thinking that they must have withered away since nobody is seeking them out. This is the kind of pretense I’ve been struggling with lately.
I’ve been trying to find ways to remind myself of my talents and abilities – in other words, my value. I came up with the idea of telling myself, “You are a gold mine!” I like imagining all these gold nuggets of creativity buried within myself, just waiting to be revealed.
I then realized that reminding myself of my inner value isn’t enough. I also need to roll up my sleeves and get to work to unearth that value and express it. So I figured that the natural follow-up to the proclamation “You are a gold mine!” is the statement “Start digging!”
I started by creating a graphic (it’s what I do!), that I could put on the front of my computer to remind myself about my value – and the work required to make that value shine.
You are a precious, valuable person. Now get to work showing it!
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