Do you ever go ‘fishing’? I sometimes do, and most of the time, I end up feeling bad about myself. Or should I say worse? It has taken me some time to observe myself fishing and to understand why I do it, and I must confess that I usually notice it after I have been fishing.
To be honest, I think I am constantly fishing, but some fish are bigger than other. In some areas, I am less insecure, so whether I catch something or not is not such a big deal. For example at work, I do my best, and I absolutely enjoy it when I get some sort of validation, but if things don’t go as I hoped for, I can quickly get on my feet again and tell myself that I did my best and I can only learn from the experience.
Writing this, I guess this is not real fishing. This is just playing my part, while fishing is when some sort of inner void manifests itself, and to fill it with something, well, I go fishing.
Maybe you are starting to get what I mean by ‘fishing’? Maybe you are starting to get annoyed by me repeating the word so many times. Can you identify yourself with it?
What I call fishing is when I approach someone with the intention of getting some sort of validation. Just like little kids do, you know? You catch a young kid drawing, and you approach her with curiosity, just to hear the kid say “I’m not good at drawing”. What is the most expected reaction? Will you answer “yeah, you suck!”? Or will you say “nonsense, you’re really good at this.”? Rather the latter, isn’t it. That is what I call fishing. It is not negative, there is not bad intention, the kid is just seeking validation. We all seek sometimes validation.
The problem is where are we seeking validation? How much of our self-value are we putting on this validation? What happens when we don’t get the validation we were expecting? Because, let’s face it, even though we get some sort of validation, often, the void is so big, that reality doesn’t match the expectation. I would actually call it the unconscious expectation because at least I am not always aware of it until later. So, when the fishing doesn’t go well, I end up catching nothing else than a confirmation of my worst limiting thoughts about myself.
So what now? To be honest, not much. The void will still manifest itself from time to time, I think. I might then go fishing, but at least now, I notice the pattern before creating a big drama in my head and outside my head because I didn’t catch that impossibly big fish I was expecting. I don’t miss the hope that one day, I will notice the void and be with it without unconsciously going fishing.