I believe that we all are looking for connection and someone to relate to us, as we relate to them. I believe that the easiest way to relate to another person is to filter it through our own experiences. In an attempt we begin to tell our story of when that happened to us, how we saw the exact same thing, when we felt the exact same thing, etc, etc, etc. Whole heartedly, I believe that many times it is our intention to connect. To say that, “I see you. I have been there, and know how you feel.” Instead it comes across and being a One Upper.
Then every once in a while you meet the genuine article. A true One Upper.
It’s Not You. It’s Them.
As a suggestion from our CEO, I am currently listening to the audible of Big Potential by Shawn Achor. The book opens up with an example of how male fireflies work together to attract female mates. That scientists didn’t believe it was true, but after much research they began to understand why. Big Potential is a book that explains how we are all connected and that when we stop competing with each other and start to think in terms of “we”rather than “me” we can find our biggest potential.
This comes back to our One Upper. In all likelihood they feel the need to be better than you. To show how amazing they are, that what you do or did is not nearly as spectacular in their own achievement. To diminish your light creates a loser, thus making them the winner. To be fair, it really isn’t entirely their fault. Unlike many Eastern cultures that have a higher focus on collectivism, we in America pride ourselves on individualism. To be better, to do better, to make more, to have more than the next person. So, that person being a dick is doing exactly what we have raised them to do.
So what do we do, just ignore it?
Vulnerability Is Terrifying For Most
To be focused on individualism, and being a step ahead of everyone else’s requires inner strength and limited weakness. When you step forward to admit your shortcomings and struggles to look for solutions and help; or when you share how you found a way to overcome, it can be seen as weakness. That you need to keep it bottled inside to maintain the outer exterior of toughness, just as they do. Being vulnerable is seen as being weak. I can speak on this from my own personal experience. I was that person to view vulnerability as weakness.
Admitting your weakness, and how you have again found strength, places your One Upper in uncomfortable feelings they are not ready for. So what do they do? They intentionally one up you. To show their strength and stifle the progress you have shared because they are uncomfortable with your vulnerability, which makes them feel theirs.
Keep It Moving
Unless you are really willing and ready to have the uncomfortable conversation about how your One Upper makes you feel unheard or unimportant, then keep it moving. Does it suck to shrug is off? Maybe, but what purpose does it serve to dwell on it, if you are not ready to take action? Are you going to work with this person to help them move forward and become a better listener? Are you ready for the conflict that may occur? Will you better a person for letting you truth out? If your answer is no then keep it moving. Find a person who makes you feel valued, heard, and important, but be open to your One Upper when they are ready to change.
So Is This You?
Maybe you have read some things to make you think, “damn. I am the One Upper…” If it is, then maybe it is time to reconsider why you have this need to always be better than someone else. Are you doing this in an attempt to feel more relevant? Are you doing this because you were raised to always be the best? Are you doing this an attempt to connect with the other person and to say, “I see you?” Now is the time to begin to making the change in allowing others to share their experiences as their own. Live in the moment, take a breath, and let the other person be the best for a moment.
Thank you for spillin it with me,