For years, I felt beset by a constant feeling of inadequacy, largely due to being nearly deaf in an overwhelmingly hearing society.
It’s easier said than done but at some point you will need to “just let go of this shit.” It can be difficult for some not to worry about what others think of you. It’s easy to convince yourself that others are better than you and that you don’t measure up to some standard.
Worrying about your inadequacy can be incredibly corrosive. It can diminish or even crush your confidence in the process. Whether this feeling is imposed on you or comes from within, the results are the same.
There have been times in my life where my sense of inadequacy was heightened. For example, I was the only member of my law school class to be interviewed by the Notre Dame Law School. I faced a panel of three law professors who questioned me on whether I would be able to get through law school with my severe hearing loss.
While most of the questions were relatively straightforward, one has stuck in my mind. “Does your hearing loss affect your ability to read?” Yes, that question was actually uttered. My response was to refer them to my undergraduate transcript showing that I had made the Dean’s List several times while pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Government. Some heavy duty reading right there. John Locke, anyone? I walked out of that interview feeling inferior. In hindsight, what I should have realized was that the problem wasn’t me. It was the ignorance of the interviewers.
But that sense of inadequacy didn’t exactly disappear after I graduated from law school. It was to persist for several years. Age and some grey hairs have a way of giving you a different perspective. 🙂
Guess what? Who gives a shit? Nearly everybody has battled this at some point in their lives. Some others struggle with it their entire lives and find inappropriate coping mechanisms to deal with this issue.
Watching both of my parents going through dementia issues has been illuminating. My Dad, for the most part, is aware of what is going on and is handling his situation with tremendous grace and humour. At times he professes some sadness at his own decline. However, those moments of sadness are far outweighed by his gentleness, laughter, and humour. While he struggles to communicate and carry out his daily activities, he does seem to be less self conscious. In watching my father go through his trials, I began to realize that you really do, at some point, have to let go of this shit and stop comparing yourself to others. It’s pointless. We only have a finite amount of time on this planet and the comparison game is a freaking waste of time.
Put less stock into what others think of you and be content with where you are in life. You should only worry about being a better person today than you were yesterday. Be better at your passion (martial arts or any profession) than yesterday. Measure your own progress compared to where you were yesterday, last week and last year. Don’t make the mistake of comparing your progress with someone else’s. The comparison game is crippling and does you no good. The hell with keeping up with the Joneses and the Smiths. Screw that comparison shit and just relax! Only then will your sense of inadequacy abate.