"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"No one can make you feel inferior . . . "

Today I am grateful for clear roads to drive on and a clear head with which to proceed into my day.

I am still considering the word intimidating that I wrote about yesterday. It reminds me of a favorite quote of mine, attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." 

That saying is one that has stuck with me since I was a teenager. I knew it to be true when I first heard it, but I didn't know how to stop giving my consent. I didn't measure up, by a long shot, in my own eyes. How would I ever measure up in anyone else's eyes?

Yet, even in my state of self-hatred, maybe I was intimidating to others because of my vocabulary or my athletic skills. I didn't set out to intimidate. If I did, it was probably fed by the other person's own insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. Our culture and mass media today only feed more into those insecurities and inadequacies by telling us how we can have a "perfect" this or that. Too many people spend too much time comparing their insides to other people's outsides and coming up short.

We aren't meant to be perfect. We are meant to be human. We are meant to be our unique selves. The better I can accept my own humanness and that of others, the less likely I will be intimidated by life. The less likely that inferiority will flare up. The more likely I will show compassion and understanding to others.

Focusing on gratefulness helps me feel less insecure, less inadequate. It helps me feel like I am enough just as I am, like my life is blessed, just for today. Self-hatred and wrong-sized ego (either too big or too small) are both pitfalls. Gratitude practice brings doses of humility, which offset such pitfalls.

Gratefulness. The great fullness of life. It's a good starting point for today.

4 comments:

  1. This is a terrific post, I'm so glad I've found your blog. It's inspired me to think about practising gratitude on a daily basis ...

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    1. Inspiring . . . that is what life can be when I focus on what is going well, what I can do, rather than what isn't going well, what I can't do. I also found your artwork on your blog to be inspiring. You are good! That may be an avenue to some gratitude practice for you. Thanks again!

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  2. Love, love, love what you have to say here. So many of us deal with that feeling of inadequacy but are clueless about the many ways our brain has helped us cope with that feeling over the years. Not always in a healthy way for sure. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Linda! My brain certainly has not always been my friend. It's work to retrain it and change the default, but it is possible. Gratitude practice has helped me change the default from one of self-pity to one of self-aceptance. And it is never too late to change.Onward!

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