Once as a kid after a getting a haircut, my classmates taunted me, “Josh got a haircut! Josh got a haircut!” I felt ashamed. I didn’t want to get haircuts after that for fear of being teased.
I didn’t consciously realize until recently that decades later, I still feel a tinge of being teased when I think about getting my hair cut, even though I would never feel ashamed if someone tried to tease me about a haircut today. I wouldn’t have thought about it except that it came up while I led a seminar on emotions and vulnerabilities. The experience came to mind as an example of how feelings we had as kids can still affect us today for events that wouldn’t affect us as adults.
Expecting the audience to agree it was a silly thing I carried around, many people in the room said the same thing happened to them and they also felt the same way still.
Since then I asked other rooms full of people at seminars to the same results. I found the experience liberating—to realize I didn’t have to suffer alone. Though I haven’t rigorously and conclusively studied the effect, I’ve concluded that
Everyone was teased or made fun of as a child and, since it happened before they realized how to handle the feelings, they still feel those feelings from whatever they were teased for.
The effect of this realization was conscious awareness of these feelings and their resulting anxiety that had been affecting me. Once aware, I could handle them, leading to freedom from the anxiety, motivation to protect myself, and vulnerability.
I thought I’d share it here as a topic of emotional awareness and hoping to help others feel that freedom too. Or maybe to find out everyone learned something similar years earlier so I can feel more humble.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book