On being more than the sum of my inadequacies

When I look at the world around me, I inevitably compare myself to the people I see. In this entirely unscientific measure, I always end up wanting.

In comparison to those around me, I see only the ways in which I am inadequate. Often times, this perception runs directly counter to objective fact. Still, the facts be damned. I see myself as less. And frankly, I’m tired of it.

My baby girl

I want to become more than the sum of my inadequacies. I want to see myself as strong, confident, intelligent, capable, and someone my three-month-old daughter can admire. I want to be someone I can admire.

I don’t quite know where to start. It’s easy to say, “Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you.” It’s quite another thing to actually do it. We are taught from a very early age to make note of differences and to judge the meaning and import of those differences.

Three of these things belong together

Three of these things are kind of the same

Can you guess which things belong together …?

You’re hearing Mr. Rogers in your head right now, aren’t you? Come on, admit it.  (Sorry to those who didn’t grow up with him. Google Fred Rogers and you’ll see how influential he was.)

And while I’m sure Mr. Rogers never meant for the song to cause exclusion based on difference, it is a contributing factor – at least in my psyche.

And when I come out on the short end of the difference – which I often do … I’m kind of weird – it triggers in me a strong sense of inadequacy.

The really interesting part of this is that I know I’m not alone in this. Pretty much all of humanity struggles with a sense of inadequacy in something or other.

The question I have is:

WHAT THE HECK DO WE DO ABOUT IT?!?!?

The short answer is, I don’t know.

The longer answer is more complicated.

The root of the larger answer is that different does not equal inadequate. And also perhaps that the whole idea of “inadequate” is a false construct based on arrogant pride.

yes, I just posited that the feeling of “inadequacy” is based in arrogance and/or pride.

Why?

Because the inherent basis of inadequacy is a measurement – a perceived measurement at that – of one’s Self (or element thereof) over against someone or something else of which we can never have full knowledge.

And so we’re making assumptions about the value of someone else’s qualities as a means of showing how we are less. And yet, we are not living that person’s life. We don’t really know whether that person knows what they’re doing, or if – like us – they’re faking it as a means of survival.

We think we can know the heart and mind of another person.

We cannot.

Or at least I cannot.

Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s an exhausting endeavor.

Perhaps the solution is to ditch the whole comparison thing. I am me. You are you. I have my stuff. You have yours. Our stuff isn’t the same – even if it’s the same general thing – because I am me and you are you. We do not and cannot see the world in exactly the same way. It’s why 10 people can see the exact same event, and give 12 different stories as to what happened.

Maybe I am inadequate when compared to you . . . or you . . . or you.

But you know what?

I no longer give a rat’s ass.

I am me. And while me is far from perfect, I’m still someone that my little girl can look at and see as a distinct person doing the best I can with what I have.

And if that’s not good enough, then bollocks to you.

Also, hello again. I’ve missed you all. A lot.

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