On not being the best….

At some point in every life, there is a moment of inferiority. Whether it’s real or not is beside the point. Every person, at one time or another (or multiple times for some), will feel inferior to someone or something.

I struggle with my own inferiority complex on a fairly regular basis. We’re talking nearly daily. I’m not as thin as that person, not as athletic as another, not as smart at this person, not as successful as that one, not as valued (professionally) as that person, not as talented as the next one.

And in fairness, I’m thinner, smarter, and more successful than someone else out there in the world. So what’s the point of feeling inferior?

Sometimes, I think it’s okay, even healthy, to have an inferiority complex. It gives me something to push toward, another goal to achieve. It certainly has pushed me to do some things with my life that I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. I also think that we all need to feel inferior at some point in order to maintain a sense of humility.

From time to time, it’s okay to get a simple reminder that I’m not as amazing as I might think I am. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s fine to be proud of one’s accomplishments. It’s more than okay to toot your own horn every now and again. We all need to feel like we’re great at SOMETHING. In fact, I firmly believe that all of us are really great at at least one thing. In our own circle of friends and peers, there’s probably at least one thing that we really, truly are better at than anyone else.

From personal experience, I can assure you that failure is not the worst thing that will ever happen. Feeling like a loser is not going to end your world. I failed an entire college course once. It was a horribly sinking feeling…mostly because I knew I’d have to take the class again and paying for it (again) was going to be no easy task (this was before I started taking out loans en masse and was paying out of pocket). I don’t like to lose and I don’t like to fail. But learning that I can bounce back from a pretty spectacular tumble was one of the more important lessons I’ve ever learned. I sulked and licked my educational wounds for a while. I felt stunned when I saw that failing grade on my transcript. I never really told anyone about failing that class.

Failure is embarrassing, there’s no questioning that. Copping to it, admitting your own inferiority, is never easy. It is, however, necessary. I feel like, the sooner you fail, the sooner you can learn to deal with it, move on, and learn how not to fail the next time.

So here’s my way of encouraging you to cop to your failures, however hard it may be. And as another tiny bit of encouragement, remember that while there will always be someone out there who is better than me at something, anything, I likely guaranteed to be better at something, anything, than someone else…same goes for you.

3 thoughts on “On not being the best….

  1. Steph ~ yeah, knock that sh*t off! haha! I think many of us have crippling self-doubt that, as you said, prevents us from moving forward. Too often, it seems, we allow the fear of failure take control instead of thinking that, even if we do fail, at least we tried!

    Susan ~ motherhood scares the crap out of me for this very reason. I sometimes wonder if it would be better for me to NOT have kids just so that I don't unintentionally raise a worthless member of society. I think for a LOT of women, motherhood is a very real, very valid fear…I think you've got some good kids on your hands though!

  2. Good words and thoughts… thanks for sharing.

    I have thought about this on numerous levels. One big one for me is motherhood. Am I good enough, am I doing the right thing, etc. It can be crippling, but yet good as well because it certainly keeps me striving to be better. The question is… how do you continue to strive to be better but not getting too down on yourself?

  3. Thanks for this, Micah.

    I've always felt like I was a bit of a jack-of-all-trades; while I'm competent at a wide variety of things, I've just never felt like I was great at any one thing. Sometimes it makes me feel aimless, like I don't have a niche.

    This feeling has prevented me from pushing myself; this belief that I'll never really excel at anything. It's crippling and I should really stop it.

    Thanks for the encouragement and the reality check. (c:

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