Like a lot of people, I get to feel inadequate several times a week. A sense of not quite being up to par. Disappointing, even. You hear about people who have performed better, earned more, got more friends, seen more of the world, slept better, argued less, looked more appealing…and the list goes on. Superhuman beings, who seem to attract success. Or, the ones that get on quietly with life and put temperamental, flapping people like me to shame. They are just better. Of course it’s possible to learn stuff from everyone we meet, even if it is how not to do things.
I’m not a particularly driven or focused person. I just like to run with stuff, but I would like to plan better. I have never been one of those that work a seven day week and gets a kick out of it. Writing is my thing, I guess.
The main element that makes me feel inadequate in the face of people who are ‘better’ is something I have come to recognise as fear. I used to label it anxiety, shyness, stress, tiredness, lots of things, frustration, resentment, bitterness – depending on my mood – but in the end it comes down to fear.
Fear of not being to pay the bills. Fear of getting ill. Fear of losing people. Fear of being judged, or of not getting approval. Always on the scary rollercoaster. I used to drink to push back the fear, but now it is here in all its dragon like, sober glory.
Someone mentioned to me a while ago the concept of giving myself permission, which sounds innocuous enough, but actually when I considered it further, it became a big deal. Why wasn’t I giving myself permission not to be afraid? What was the worst that could happen if I stopped being fearful? Why did I have to have my fists so tightly curled into my eyes?
At this point in time I am trying really hard to believe in a new way forward, using the ‘give yourself permission’ criteria. It’s ok therefore (in my model of the world) to…
- change your mind about something you once believed in, because you have learned a better way
- change what you do and how you do it
- not know how things will develop as a result
- feel the fear and do it anyway (love that phrase)
- not do things because ‘everyone’ (it’s never everyone) else is but because it is right for you
- leave a situation because it is not working for you or you feel stuck
- be materially poor as a field mouse but actually possessions mean sod all.
- not change the world
- make mistakes, just as others do
- not to obsess about what other people are thinking
- not to have the answers to someone’s questions
- not to answer questions just because they are asked
- not to have an opinion when asked, and to remain quiet
Like many people, I would guess, I try to be ‘good’; grateful and kind. I don’t always manage it because I am human. It’s ok not to be perfect, however. No one else is, after all. It’s ok not to be liked by every single person in the world. No one else is, after all. Sometimes it is hard to recognise that someone I really want to like me is never going to, but actually that is ok too. There will always be people who argue and people who agree. That is life.