“We are all trying to prove that we are something we aren’t, while at the same time we are all intrinsically the same and it’s that sameness that would help us find the most satisfying belonging, if only we could see the beauty of our own inadequacy.”
Inadequacy is a feeling we can all relate to. Everyone would consider themselves inadequate in some area of their lives. Whether it’s athletics, academics, or accomplishments, we have all come up short at one time or another in one or all these categories. The irony of this reality is that, everyone is scared of their own inadequacy and what I would like to suggest is that, it is in fact the only thing that we all have in common. This failure to live up to a set of standards or expectations is all about proving ourselves worthy.
What exactly is it that we are trying to be worthy of? Worthy of that job promotion at work? Worthy of that A+ on a English exam? Worthy of the MVP award?
Perhaps, this is actually the outward expression of a deeper longing.
I think what we actually want to know is that deep down, we are worthy without having to do something to prove ourselves worthy in the eyes of those around us. Maybe what we actually desire, is for someone to love us in all our inadequacies; to be enough simply, as we are. We long to find rest from the striving to always be stronger, smarter, and more accomplished.
It’s exhausting. I know this from experience. Like running on a treadmill you can’t turn off, or get off for that matter. That kind of exhausting.
Strength in Numbers
I find it so interesting that it is in fact our own inadequacies that tend to draw us to find strength in those around us. Inadequacies bring us together in a way that no amount of success or acclaim ever will. Have you ever realized that it’s those who have attained great success and accomplished incredible accolades that seem to be the most alone and isolated?
Fascinating isn’t it?
Once we become known for a certain standard of accomplishment or excellence, it is uncanny how often it results in us longing to keep that acclaim by hiding all our massive inadequacies behind a smile or a bank account.
Have you ever noticed that it’s much easier and so much more satisfying to be able to relate to someone in their inabilities than it is to find someone who can relate to some of your greater accomplishments in life?
Relating to one another in our struggle to live up to the societal standards, or the bar we ourselves have set for ourselves helps us to recognize that we are not isolated in our weakness but rather surrounded by the entire population in our struggle to live up to expectations.
I’m not sure what the solution to this is.
What I AM sure about, is that it will involve a great deal of honesty and raw vulnerability being shared with those around us and the world. Refusing to come out of hiding and continuing to wear a ridiculous mask that is constantly smiling and pretending to have the most exhilarating of lives will only prolong the suffering and feeling of isolation that we all struggle with.
Perhaps it’s not our accomplishments and acclaim and standard of living that make us beautiful, strong people. Perhaps it’s the way we fight with all our might to master this life and still somehow feel like we are flailing in the deep end of our inability.
Who knows? Perhaps we will find that the true beauty in those around us, isn’t found in their faces or their mansions, but in their ability to ask for help when they need it. Perhaps, true beauty is actually in knowing our limitations and seeking to surround ourselves with others who can come alongside us in our inadequacy.
The Less Traveled Path; Humility
I believe that true beauty is revealed in humility. True humility mind you is not thinking poorly or negatively of oneself but rather thinking accurately about who you are and what you have to offer the world.
This is not an easy trait to come by.
It takes time to get to know and appreciate yourself with all your inadequacies and all your quirks. If we could change our mindset to view ourselves as worthy even in the midst of our failings and inadequacies, then maybe we would start to see the value in those around us.
Maybe, just maybe, we would stop comparing our lives to others and simply realize that we are all in the same boat living different lives but still struggling to be adequate and prove our worth to the world.
Then, maybe we would find it in our hearts to come alongside one another and help each other in our times of need rather than ignoring the struggle of those around us because we don’t want to admit that we are struggling too.
The truth is that you are worthy. You have an intrinsic value that makes your life worthwhile. All you have to do is realize that and you will be able to look at your life no matter the circumstances and be grateful for what you have because you will understand that regardless of what’s happening in your life, none of it effects your internal worth. Loosing a job or your home doesn’t change your value and worthiness. You are worthy.
The bleak reality of inadequacy is that we all use the measuring stick we’ve been given by society. None of us seem to realize that we are not bound to the standards of the society we live in.
Often times we measure our lives in light of society’s twisted values, and then we consider ourselves unworthy because we know we don’t measure up. Society has a generalized way of living that works for at most 51% of the population and everything is geared towards them.
People are unique and different and they aren’t all proficient in the same abilities. This is why the public school system is failing, because not all students are capable of learning the way that they are required to by our society’s schooling regimen. Does that make them stupid or inadequate? No, it simply makes them different.
Time for Change
We need to start making changes in how we view differences. If we view them as failure, that isolates people for not being able to process or perform the same way that society has deemed as best.
How do we embrace our differences and beautiful inadequacies so that we can all live a happier, more fulfilling lifestyle?
Embracing true humility and surrounding yourself with others who can do the same would be a strong start. Getting to know yourself and learning how to appreciate all that you are regardless of the viewpoints of others could also be a good place to begin.
What if we, first and foremost, stopped lying to ourselves and the world through social media and other digital platforms?
Put DOWN THE SELFIE STICK!
What if we posted photos of ourselves that we don’t think are the most attractive ones we’ve ever taken and share the struggles in our lives rather than only the happy, adventuresome, victories we experience in our lives that make us completely unrelateable to people in real world?
What if we unapologetically chose to accept ourselves as we are and lay down our need for others to accept and admire us?
These false portrayals of our lives paint an unrealistic picture of happiness and accomplishment that adds to the cycle of “inadequacy.” Comparing ourselves to the lives of those we know, as portrayed on social media, can be demoralizing and depressing. We may think to ourselves that our lives are boring, lame, or even pathetic.
The truth is often the opposite.
We are living a life much like those we know, but we are only allowed to see the fantastical, exaggerated and fun activities they get to do with their life on social media.
The irony in that, is that they are posting those pictures and stories to make themselves feel more adequate or as if, they are living up to a standard that will be approved or even envied by those around them. Unfortunately, this feeds into a false identity that we aren’t worthy, and we need to go out of our way to make others think that we are, even though deep down inside we don’t even believe it ourselves.
We are all trying to prove that we are something we aren’t, while at the same time we are all intrinsically the same and it’s that sameness that would help us find the most satisfying belonging, if only we could see the beauty of our own inadequacy.