The Heartless and the Fearful

Which are you?


This is what I know about my own psychology, about my own personality – that I want to believe that I have a contribution to make and that I am fundamentally a good person. In short, I want some level of self-respect and want to be able to like myself.

Respect yourself

To make a useful contribution, I need to understand what I am able to change, what I can fix or improve in some way, and to recognise my limitations: push ahead when I can but know when to hold back. And so leave things in better shape than I found them, in some small way.

Make things better
Like yourself

To be a decent person, I need to show consideration for the needs of others, but also need to know when to stand up for my own view; when to give my opinion and when to listen to others.

We want a balance of intelligence and emotional intelligence
Off balance

As an introvert (if that’s the right word), I tend towards caution, and towards holding back when I should push ahead. I dither, procrastinate and overthink things. I tell myself I’m being thoughtful and considered, when really I’m being timid. This means I sometimes miss out on things. So this apparent lack of confidence needs to be addressed.

Some people are at the other end of the spectrum – impatient and agitated, they will charge ahead even when they should hold back, pushing people out of their way as they go. It is as if they have energy to burn. They tell themselves they are being tough and decisive, when really they are being reckless and inconsiderate. This means they often find themselves out of their depth and in serious conflict with others – and they should do something to address this. They really should …

Some people lack courage or self-assurance; some lack serenity or consideration for others

The quiet people among us are the ones who end up in therapy – exhausted, anxious and deflated under the weight of the constant stress.

The loud ones lurch from one fight to another, increasingly frustrated with everyone around them, especially the quiet ones – and refusing to accept responsibility for their own anger.


We want a balance. We want to have the confidence to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, but not so far that we are being irresponsible or thoughtless.

We want to be the adult in the conversation, not the child or the parent. We want to be authoritative, not passive or permissive, and not authoritarian or aggressive.

Be the adult in the conversation

We want to give and take – we want to think of the needs of others while retaining the self-assurance to stand up for our own self-interest.

And that’s it.


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