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Sometimes my inadequacies cripple me.
On a daily basis, I’m suffocating under the weight of all the things I believe make me inadequate.
And in the moments when I let my insecurities reign, I notice I’m mean, defensive, scared, so f*cking scared, that if I am who I am, no matter what form I’m in, I will still be inadequate.
Some days, I try so f*cking hard, it’s annoying to myself and others.
I’m constantly on the defense, almost as if I have to prove to the world that, “Yes, I am here, and the things I do matter, and everybody should care about me and those things!” I’m convinced we all do this in some form—shout into the skies, or whatever void is available, that our existence should be valued and deemed worthy by others.
I, like many others, crave to be accepted by the world before I just fully accept myself. I want people to accept me so badly that I am awkward in conversation and follow people around like a little doe-eyed puppy. And at 33 years old, I still am befuddled at just how to fix this for good so that at some point in my life, I give myself a chance to feel adequate and loved
But it seems that no matter what is happening in my life, or how long it’s been happening for, having what I believe to be a happy life has come down to one commonly recurring instance that I still struggle to grasp—loving myself.
And I struggle with loving myself all the time. Since I was a child. I’m struggling with it right now. My relationship with inadequacy and lack of self-love is the longest relationship I’ve ever been in. I can pinpoint where it began.
Some moments of inadequacy are peppered throughout my past living like blaring beacons in my mind, troubling me even when I sleep.
My feelings of inadequacy are most apparent when I look around at the lives my loved ones so stunningly and effortlessly cultivate. And when I look at them, I feel so…inadequate. Like I’ve fallen short of everything I can be just because I’m not a similar version of a person I admire. And let me tell you, it is so painful, the comparisons I make between myself and others, that some days, I don’t even want to remove myself from my bed or the darkness of my apartment. Sometimes I eat beyond fullness, further plunging into this pit of inadequacy, convincing myself that I deserve to be there.
It’s always, why can’t I be humble and chill like her? Why can’t I have the perfect partner who looks at me with love each day? Why am I in my 30s and still renting an apartment? Why am I just now advancing in my career? Why am I not thinner? Why am I still financially unstable? Why can’t I just get it together?
Why, why, why, why am I so inadequate?
I’m alone enough now that I have these thoughts often, where I feel severely underloved, undervalued, underappreciated, unnoticed even. I have little to distract me from these feelings. It can be devastatingly isolating, and, if I’m not careful, I know I’m in danger of hurtling toward a depression I may never recover from. If I didn’t have the consciousness that I’ve practiced since a young age, I might truly always live in that inadequacy. I might actually believe that I am undeserving.
But I know the truth.
I am not inadequate at all.
That’s just the lizard brain, the conditioning, the unfortunate happenstances from my past trying to reinforce the narrative so the world around me can feed off my insecurities like unrelenting parasites.
Yes, the world around me is toxic in so many forms and our present-day is devastating in frightening ways. I know what a challenge it is to not compare myself to everyone in the age of social media. I know that I live in a world of capitalists all profiting from my insecurities.
But as a frequent feeler of inadequate thoughts, I have to remind myself of a few things.
The world is beautiful, and the people I admire, whom I compare myself with, are beautiful too. But their beauty, their life, their earthly journey does not determine my own.
The very existence of others does not determine the value of my own existence.
This is a difficult thing to remind myself of, but it’s important. It’s important to say, even out loud, whenever feelings of inadequacy want to suck me deep into oblivion.
I am also a fantastic storyteller. I will beautifully craft unfortunate fictional stories designed to uphold just how inadequate and victimized I am. Depending on what triggers my insecurity that day, I will start fights with people or situations in my mind when a problem may not even exist at all.
It’s easier to blame others for how I feel rather than take steps to remove myself from that darkness. When I’m in my insecurities, I know on a subconscious level I can get a different kind of attention or love from others. Getting that attention is more instantaneous than taking the time to really learn to love myself.
I still have not solved the mystery of how to wholly love myself so I never have to feel this way again. I still have nothing foolproof and concrete; I only possess some mildly actionable avenues worth taking. Learning to love myself has been a confusingly fluid process that both brings me life and exhausts me.
What I can say is, I’m trying, every day.
In small ways, I do something that makes me feel less inadequate and more loved. I read books. I drink water. I eat something that’s good for me. I write. I go swimming or take a walk. I talk to my friends. I watch some funny standup or videos of cats.
Sometimes it’s me doing the most basic of things—brushing my teeth and hair, sleeping 15 extra minutes, taking a shower, or putting on something other than leggings and a sweatshirt.
I try to spend less time measuring myself and my progress against what others are doing. I steer clear of competition entirely and remind myself to look at the gorgeous world as it appears in front of me rather than something I need to compare myself to.
I talk to the people I’m closest to about what I’m feeling because, most of the time, they are so understanding and loving in that space. Therapy also helps. Never underestimate therapy.
And I give myself grace in hopes that I may achieve self-love in this life while also knowing, that if I don’t, there will be other existences where I might finally escape constant feelings of inadequacy.