Don’t be a Monster: How to Manage the Inner Jerk

Little Man in a monster costume

I LOVE when listeners, followers, and readers reach out with questions. So thanks to the many of you who reached out who reached out after listening to my podcast on The Art of Charm.

I was talking about Law #1 in my book, The 11 Laws of Likability; the Law of Authenticity. Simply stated, the philosophy is the real you is always the best you. Thanks to “Jeff the Jerk” (clearly not his real name), who was brave enough to ask a question that I know many have wondered themselves.  He asked:

“I know being authentic, genuine and my self is what I should strive for but there are a lot of people who are just JERKS as their genuine selves, and a lot of the time I see myself being that and it’s not attractive. How do I become a genuine, likable person while censoring the jerk I can be sometimes.  Wouldn’t I be trying to please people if I’m doing that?”

Great question and I want to be perfectly clear. Authenticity is not an excuse to get to be a jerk. It is about accepting your unique charms and understanding when those work for you and when you need to temper them to be effective.

Here are a few tips to manage the inner jerk that can rear its voice in all of us.

  1. Realize your triggers. What is happening when “the jerk” wants to come out?  For my husband and son it happens when they are hungry.  For me, when I am tired.  We all have the inner jerk, sometimes the cause is physical and we can counter it.
  1. Be responsive rather than reactive. AKA Slow your thinking down. Many times the bad behavior comes out because it is a reaction to something and the reaction feels good. It is also because we jump quickly to conclusions, believe our conclusions, and seek to prove ourselves right and then act as if we are. If we slow ourselves down a bit we leave ourselves open to the possibility of being wrong.

To slow down ask yourself:

  • What don’t I know?
  • How else can I interpret that?
  • What if I am wrong?
  • Do I want to be right?
  • How will my reaction serve me an hour from now?
  1. Determine what’s in it for you. Reactions feel good but the consequences of those outbursts are typically not so much fun. Realize what’s in it for you to control the inner jerk. It is not about being a people pleaser but pleasing yourself with not having to deal with the consequences. That is far more motivating.

Let me know in the comments below if this is a problem that you are dealing with in your own life, and how you are handling it. You might have an idea that I haven’t thought of before and I would love to hear it!

And keep the questions coming! You can post your questions in the comments or via FB and twitter or even through my contact on my website.  Ask and I will answer!

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