Feeling inferior is simply a result of your perception that you can’t live up to your own expectations or the expectations of other people. It’s paralysing, gnaws at your self-esteem, and is a downright unpleasant feeling to have around.
Inferiority complexes are common among abuse victims because of the constant reinforcement that they are not worth loving. That becomes your truth. As a result, there will be times when you will wonder if leaving was the right decision. You’ll shine the spotlight on all of your faults, wonder if you’re attractive, and question whether you’re worthy of love. You will have times that no matter how much you put yourself out there, you won’t meet someone who is both physically and emotionally compatible with you, and you’ll blame yourself. You’ll have times that you’ll think that you’re eternally unloveable and look at yourself in the mirror and cry when you see a boring, incompetent, ugly, lazy slob instead of seeing the funny, smart, beautiful, fascinating, and unique being you are.
And that’s perfectly okay.
No one feeling good about yourself again would be easy, or that you had to be strong all the time. No one said you had to have the impenetrable self-esteem equivalent of Fort Knox. No one said that you wouldn’t doubt yourself or make mistakes. No one said you had to be compatible or even get along with every person you met. No one said you had to be perfect.
No one, but you.
Your view of yourself is simply one perspective. Sure, it’s your own, so it carries a hell of a lot of weighting. But here’s the great thing about perspectives – there’s more than one!
Have you ever been in a funhouse with those weird warp mirrors? You walk in front of one and it makes you look like a stick insect on stilts; the next makes you look like a heifer; and the next turns you into a spiral swirl, or makes you look like you have four legs and no head?
We laugh when we see these images because they look so silly. Why? The images we see are “real” reflections of us in the sense that we can perceive them through our senses. What if you had never seen yourself in a mirror that reflected true-to-life proportions? What if you had only ever seen yourself through the reflection of the funhouse? Don’t you think it’s likely that a disparity would exist between how you see yourself and how you really are?
I make this point because you have never had a mirror that reflects your true-to-life proportions. Your perception of yourself and your value is and always has been coloured by the opinions and influences of your environment. Family, friends, teachers, peers, clubs, social groups, the media, and society at large have all added their bit. These opinions shape the mirror in which you see yourself. A bit of emphasis here, play down this bit, adjust the lighting slightly and…voila! The way you look to yourself is now a result of the strongest influences in your life.
Not only do we process other people’s opinions to shape our own mirror, but people we encounter in life often have conflicting views. It’s no wonder our mirror gets completely warped when we’re trying to mould it to incorporate everything from everyone!
Take some time out next time you’re feeling down on yourself to examine why. An alternate perspective is often what you need when the feeling of inferiority rears its ugly head. Ask yourself: Whose ideal are you trying to meet? Do you even respect that person’s opinion? Do they have your best interests at heart? Did you consciously make that ideal your own? If so, why? Are your expectations of yourself realistic and achievable? How could you view the situation differently?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Feeling inferior is nothing but a single perspective. Life’s tough enough as it is, so cut yourself a break. You’re wonderful and loveable just the way you are.
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