You hear it at work. All the time. You hear it from your friends and family. You hear it so much that you start to believe it in a way. You are intimidating to people, but when you ask them why, you won't get a comprehensive answer.
The reason you don't get a clear answer is because there isn't one. At least one that makes any real sense. You are bothered by this all the time. In fact, it haunts you. Keeps you up at night. Causes severe anxiety. It does all of this to you because you don't want to be seen as someone who intimidates people. That image doesn't help you develop cohesive relationships. It makes it hard to build trusting relationships.
I'm not talking about you if you are actually intimidating. Meaning you are a bully and/or you use manipulation to harass and control people. You really are intimidating and you need to get help before you run into someone who can handle you (feel free to come my way). This article isn't talking about bullies. This is talking about folks who who struggle to do their internal work. People who work hard to confront their internal demons. People who learn through this work that we can actually overcome all of the things that form the most formidable obstacles in our lives.
The issue is people who are not trying to confront their demons, at least not on any serious level, see you working to confront yours. They see you because your work permits you to be a force in helping resolve problems because you have gained the skills to make contributions in this regard. You wouldn't have those skills if you had not picked yourself up when you were knocked down. Over and over again. This is what people see. Most of whom stay down when knocked down for whatever reasons, real or imagined.
So, its this capability on your part which makes your presence challenging to many people. That's what they really mean when they say you are intimidating.
And you have learned that doing the work on yourself that you do doesn't bring any immediate rewards. People actually avoid you. Who you are scares them so they, without meaning to, tend to see you in a very limited way. They're focused on the traits they observe in you that they wish they had. Consequently, they see you through those traits. And only those traits. In other words, if you have learned to channel your fears and not let them control you, they will see you are completely fearless. This isn't true, but that's how they will see you. They won't see how difficult it is for you to be where you are. They definitely won't see that they have the capacity to get there themselves. They will just see you as fearless. And they will see themselves as unable to be where they think you are. And that makes them feel bad so they avoid you. At least on any meaningful level. And, this will happen consistently to the point where you find it very hard to establish and maintain relationships, which is depressing for you.
You are not without fault in this dilemma. Your dogged determination to challenge yourself, usually because you hold principles that are true to justice and liberation for the majority of people on the planet, makes you hard to reach sometimes. I'll never forget how boxer Mike Tyson was accused of rape back in the 90s. People far and wide labeled him a complete monster. I had no issue believing him to be an abuser. What I didn't understand is how one minute a society could celebrate a person becoming such a successfully violent gladiator, and then the next minute, that same society turned completely against Tyson as if his violence has its own off switch once he stepped out of the ring? My point isn't to condone his abusive behavior. My point is every boxing fan, every UFC fan, every violent movie and song fan, everyone who has ever engaged in un-humanistic behavior towards another human being, we are all guilty. Well, this also applies to you and how you respond to being labeled as intimidating. The dysfunction just spills over in your behavior. You become a tad bit hard to reach sometimes. You do that to protect yourself. No one can blame you. If you weren't a little distant people would drive you crazy because since they see you are doing your work, they tend to think you have no shortcomings. You have no contradictions. As a result, everything dealing with you has a much higher bar. You find that you cannot make the errors other people make. Even if the people criticizing your error make that same error routinely, they will still criticize you as if you betrayed humanity when you make it. So, you address this by putting up barriers to keep those people at a distance. Where you are wrong is you should find better ways to challenge all of this, but usually, you haven't. And that part is on you, but don't fret because anyone else in your shoes would probably respond the same way.
Yup. Lots of loneliness. Get comfortable being constantly misunderstood. And, then there's that double standard thing about the raised bar. Then on top of that, there's all the times you will be told all of this is just in your head. What you need to do then, what we have to do, is listen to a part of that. Listen to the part about your brain. That's the key. You are in this position because you are strong willed. You have heart. And because of your heart you have to figure out how to weather the difficult elements. You handle the isolation by becoming strong enough within yourself that you are comfortable with you. This means love and companionship will take much longer for you, but when it actually happens, it will be real and it will be worth it because your person will be strong enough to understand you. They won't be intimidated by you, they will be inspired. And, in the areas where you need to improve, they will recognize that criticism comes with a requirement to help. If they can't do that for you, with you, then that's your genuine signal that despite all appearances, this is probably not the person for you.
Challenge yourself to reach out to people and not aide the isolation. Fight against it. It won't be easy. Remember, you reflect people's shortcomings to them and as a result, they typically don't feel that comfortable with you. Its not your fault, but you can combat it by humbling yourself more and more. It will be very difficult, but it will make you a better person and it will provide you with skills that will prove invaluable to our work to bring people together.
So, the next time someone tells you that you are intimidating, smile, and say thank you. And, use that as a reminder of the good work that must be done.