First, I would say you should not judge yourself by the world’s standards. You’ll find they are very fickle. No matter what you do, there will always be someone who can do better. There will likely be someone who can’t and despises you for it. Whose standards are you going to live by? The guy who is more skilled than you or the guy who isn’t? If you choose either one of them, you’ve made an unfortunate choice for many reasons.
You create your own life. No one can feel for you, no one can think for you … unless you let them. Allowing yourself to use other people’s standards as your own is like trying to wear hand-me-downs. It never looks quite as good on you as it did on the original owner.
So, why do you feel inadequate? ...
What is the source of your feelings? It could be many, many things. It could be an incident that occurred sometime in your life. It could be remarks someone made — remarks you interpreted to mean you were not good enough. It can come from a fear of rejection or failure. It can come from identifying your self-worth with your actions and feeling the pressure to perform. I couldn’t possibly list all the sources for these feelings.
There are several things you should consider in trying to work out these feelings.
First, recognize that when you feel inadequate, you view the world around you and your interactions with it through the lens of inadequacy. Only certain situations are visible to you — those which support the idea that you are inadequate and that others believe it to be true also. No matter how much positive input you’re receiving, it will not register. A compliment will be met with “They’re just trying to be nice!” Your focused attention on these situations is like a magnet drawing to you more and more opportunities to feel inadequate. It has nothing to do with truth. It has everything to do with what you expect.
Second, to discover your answer to the question, you will have to put in the time to figure it out. The next time you find yourself feeling inept, start examining the situation at hand immediately. Ask yourself specific questions, such as:
- What do I think is expected of me?
- Do I feel threatened?
- Do I think or feel that people will laugh at me?
- If my performance in this situation is just average, will I feel like a failure?
- Do I have to be #1 to be okay?
- If this is true, why is it so important to me?
- What do I imagine will happen if I fail?
Third, consider this exercise. Look at what you have accomplished and allow yourself to say, “I did a great job!” It is important you begin to affirm the positive results you’ve had in the past. The more energy we invest in recognizing the existing positives as we focus on change, the more likely we will be successful in our efforts.
As humans, we often assume that we are irreversibly flawed. So, when such feelings as yours haunt us, we take for granted it is some major imperfection in our genetic makeup. Some accept it. Others question. Those who question discover that the flaws are not irreversible. We created them. We can un-create them.