I am a snob.
I think so.
That’s a bold statement, I know. Does it push your button just a bit, when I say that?
A few months ago, I became aware that I really did not want to be seen as a snob. I had avoided that label all my life. I remember being a teenager and people telling me I was a snob, leaving me to interpret what they meant by that.
My father had built a factory, creating alcoholic beverages, right beside a main highway outside of my home city. It was advertising my last name in big letters on top of the building. When people discovered my last name, they often made assumptions: teachers, schoolmates and their parents included.
I was shy at that time, not saying much around strangers and my awkward silences were interpreted as snobbish.
When I discovered this, I was mortified. I wanted to be included and part of the various groupings of people around me. My understanding of a snob was that of being an outsider, who felt superior to others and was not very relatable, which, of course, was completely opposite from what I desired.
So, I stuffed ‘snob’ somewhere into the back of my shadow cabinet, to keep company with all the other qualities that I did not want to be seen as (mean, inconsiderate, lazy, incompetent to name a few).
Can you relate? Do you have your own list going on as you read this?
For the past few years, I have paid more conscious attention to these special attributes in my internal closet that have rarely seen the light of day. Becoming more aware how they add an important quality into my life and how that can actually be a good thing. Sometimes, though, my resistance meter rocks sky-high, screaming: “No, I don’t want to look at that one! Never!!”
In the process, I discovered that there seems to be a correlation between the qualities that elicit the loudest screams and the amount of positive impact that embracing that particular quality offers.
If I hide a quality, I can never be sure when that aspect of myself decides it’s time to sneak out of the closet and expose itself. That is scary. So, my natural impulse is to try and tuck it more deeply into the recesses of my closet in the hope to eventually forget all about it.
And then, some day, there it is. Triggered into the public spotlight through some spoken words or the experience of a particular situation. Often followed by cringing embarrassment. Not good.
So, snob decided to make a public reappearance in my life. Initially the temptation was to ignore it.
However, I know better now. Here was an opportunity to embrace and create one less push button in my life.
I started playing with being a snob and asked myself: What’s good about it?
Certainly, it allows me to select and clearly state my preferences. I know, I will not just eat everything. I will not just participate in any group. I will not wear certain clothes or fabrics. I am discerning in what I read, who I spend time with and where I travel.
Some things don’t work for me. The simple fact that I have preferences implies that there are better or superior choices for me. They make me feel good and empowered. This clarity simplifies my life.
Do I sometimes feel superior in my choices? I do. As humans, we constantly compare ourselves with others in order to know where we are in terms of safety and control. It‘s part of our fight/flight response and therefore innate.
So, do I feel smug at times when I observe someone in my environment light up a cigarette, or get drunk or pick a sugary donut? You bet. In those moments, I may easily feel that I am making better choices. I may not comment on it, but the thought is there.
In my heart, I know that my preferences in life do not make me a better person in relation to someone else. They do not imply that I make better choices than someone else. Also, they do not automatically make me unavailable to relate to others. My choices do not need to be someone else’s choices. I will have some in common with others, but not all.
However, sometimes, it’s good to stretch right to the edge of something that is uncomfortable.
Snob was uncomfortable. Now I have to laugh every time I use the word. That feels awesome.
What juicy characteristic have you been hiding in your closet that is ready for transformation? Let me know in your comment below.
If you find some challenges in creating this change in perspective for yourself, let’s have a conversation and explore how I can support you in making this happen.