I’m going to go out on a limb and make the assumption that everyone at some point or another felt inadequate or even invisible.
The reason for this is because one’s ego is compelled to compare oneself with another. You see someone and judge that they have a better body or they have more money or they’re more liked by one’s peers or they have something unique that one lacks.
But this tendency to compare also “benefits” one when one sees that they have more free time or easier access to certain things or more sex or a nicer home.
“Benefits” is in quotation marks because it only feels like a good thing when you’re the one who has more, but it is this same game that will eventually make you feel like a loser when you find yourself with less than someone else.
And maybe this wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t then make the direr mistake of making these comparisons and having that define who we are and how we feel about ourselves.
I remember when Meghan Markle had just become a duchess and so many women were jealous of her newfound position and being the first black person to be a part of the British royal family. Of course, some celebrated her with no jealousy whatsoever. But some were at the very least envious.
Now that envy has turned into pity when she and her newborn child experienced racism by the very institution people thought she would be welcomed in.
It reminded me of being in high school and how people envied and coveted the hottest girl in school. It all seemed very glamorous until you realized how many people wanted to knock her off the throne they put her on and how many people wanted to be associated with her for their own selfish gains.
Then on the other hand you have the wallflowers who are beautiful in their own way but were inculcated to believe that value and beauty looked and acted a certain way. It would be years before they realized their own light. But when they did, all that was necessary was to show up in the right places and their natural talent did the rest.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses. Everyone has something that society needs because everyone is exceptional at something.
To address one’s weaknesses is admirable, but one must be careful to not focus on them for so long that one forgets their strengths. Because if one constantly focuses on one’s weaknesses, weaknesses that are naturally going to be there because of the strengths one has, one is fighting a losing battle.
I recently started listening to Bjork. If you know anything about her, she’s a very avant-garde musician and artist. She is not the type of person who would seamlessly fit into society. I’m not someone who seamlessly fits into my own society and even I consider her the closest thing to extra-terrestrial life on this planet!
She’s very bizarre but I like it and her fans absolutely adore her. I’m sure she’s just like everyone else who wanted to be accepted for who she was but I doubt she received that acceptance. Her voice is too strong, her art is too different and her performances are too much for most people to jive with.
And yet she has been cited as an inspiration by Thom Yorke, Missy Elliott, Amy Lee and Rush frontman Geddy Lee. These are not just artists that grew up watching her. Some of these are her contemporaries.
She is successful because she focused on her strengths and didn’t constantly dwell on her weaknesses or what others could do that she couldn’t. She saw value in herself and her tribe naturally found her. I’m happy to report that that’s how it works for all of us.
If we could make the conscious decision that every time we found ourselves in comparison with others, to stop the comparison immediately, we could step into higher self-esteem and happier, healthier lives. And that means ending the comparisons where we have less than others as well as the times when we have more. It must be both.
We don’t get a chance to boost our egos by thinking we are superior because we aren’t. Eventually, we will return to the notion that we are inferior to others, which means we’re back to exactly where we started.
Ultimately, when you continue this process for some time, you will eventually experience what you’ve probably always known: We’re all equal in value and no one is more valuable than anyone else.
The reason someone becomes the richest person in the world is because they solve more problems for more people than everyone else. The reason someone gets voted the most attractive is because the standards of beauty set up by that society were seen the most in that specific person. The reason someone is regarded as the most talented, the most giving, the best dressed or anything else in life is because they demonstrate those things the most and/or the best.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t also possess talent(s). You may play a very niche role that is highly important but not as visible because you cater for a specific audience. You may actually be more beloved and revered because you are so specific.
Thankfully, it doesn’t really matter. The point is that no one has any reason to think that they are generally inferior to anyone and naturally, no one is generally superior to anyone.
The sooner we can rid ourselves of the delusion that our inherent worth is determined by superiority/inferiority, the better.
It’s a pretty tall order but it’s one we need to commit to if we want a better life and a better society.