“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt
This may sound silly but I don’t think I ever fully understood the true meaning of this quote until recently. This is a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, but of course I first heard it on Princess Diaries. I only recently began to understand what it meant when I was analyzing the way I often felt when I was interacting with others, especially others my own age.
To me, I would only see how i was NOT, when comparing myself to them.
I was not as successful.
I was not a pretty.
I was not as socially adaptive, etc. etc. etc.
I would often feel myself shrinking into a person much younger than they, feeling belittled even without them knowing.
And then I realized, it’s not them. It’s me. They were not making me feel inferior, I was making myself feel inferior.
By comparing myself to others, and allowing myself to feel that inadequacy, I was making myself feel inferior. Only I can control whether or not I feel inferior. I never feel this way with others of different ages than myself. I assume because in my head I would think, “of course we wouldn’t be at the same place in life, they have more years under their belt than I.” But for people my age, I feel like I SHOULD be at the same place if not further (when my perfectionistic brain turns on): successful, well put together… But SHOULD is a dangerous and unrealistic word. There is no right or wrong way to be, so saying you should be this or should be that, doesn’t make sense. You are at this point in your life and that’s exactly where you should be.
Here is my list of 5 things you need to STOP doing, in order to bring yourself back to reality, and recognize that you are not insignificant or inferior:
1.) STOP using sorry as a major word in your vocabulary.
I used to do this constantly. Literally all the time. It became such a habit, and it’s a hard habit to break but I’ve been working on it. I find myself having to stop before saying it and analyzing whether or not this is really an instance that I need to be the one apologizing, or if it’s even an instance that anyone needs to be apologizing.
By excessively saying sorry you are, whether you realize it or not, placing the blame on you. You are taking responsibility of whatever has happened, whether it’s you banging into someone (your fault) or them banging into you (not your fault), you are saying you’re to blame.
There are of course times when we need to say sorry, sometimes in excessive amounts if what we did warrants it. But to constantly blame yourself for everything just makes you feel bad for something you didn’t even do.
2.) STOP saying yes to everything.
If something doesn’t feel right to you, doesn’t feel true to yourself, or if it means that you are compromising you own happiness, you don’t have to do it. You don’t have to say yes to everything. Sometimes we get into the habit of always thinking of others, and putting ourselves on the back-burner.
It’s okay to say no once in a while if it means you keep your sanity. People won’t hate you for saying no. Of course, if you’re child asks you for food, and you say, “Sorry little Jimmy, I’m not feeling it today.”…thennn your priorities might need some rearranging. Certain things you really need to do, but other things that aren’t as important, don’t be afraid to say no sometimes.
3.) STOP slouching.
I’m a big culprit of this one. I’m constantly having to remind myself to stand up straight. But when I do, I immediately feel more confident in myself, and of course there’s the perk of less back pain and future spinal issues. There’s even a whole scientific study on the effect that your body language has on your mind via hormonal release. The mind-body connection is pretty amazing stuff. Essentially the study looks at how doing what’s called a “power pose”
If you’re really serious about kicking your slouch habit, you could always buy a Lumo Lift, which monitors your spine to make sure you’re sitting up straight. It vibrates when you’re slouched and will notify you on your phone certain details, like steps walked and goals met for time sitting straight. Technology these days man, there’s a tool or app for everything.
Or if you’re cheap, you could always go for the good ol’ stick and tape method lol.
4.) STOP assuming that you need to be at the same place in life as others your age.
NO ONE is at the exact same place in life. Why? Because we all have a unique life story that is ours, and ours alone. While some of us may have had similar experiences, no two people will have had the EXACT same life experiences, and even if they did, no two people will experience/perceive those life moments the same.
So comparing where you are at in life to others, whether they are your age or not, makes literally no sense. I have to keep telling myself this, but it really is true. It’s just not a fair comparison. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and people will get to where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there.
5.) STOP thinking everything should be a certain way.
That’s not how life works. Of course, things can turn out in a way that you don’t like or didn’t plan for, but nothing in life should ever be a certain way. There’s no one way to be, and realizing this will make handling the unexpected a whole lot easier. It all boils down to expectations in life.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful! They’ve worked for me, but I just need to keep reminding myself of them. What’s helped you guys out there with this issue? Let me know in the comments below!