Two things happened:
First, I noticed there was a lot more money in her savings account than my own.
Then, my belly tightened and sucked into itself like a black hole. My savings weren’t enough. They would never be enough. I wanted to crumple to the floor. I was inadequate.
I was dangerously close to careening down the slippery slope of inadequacy to: I’m not enough.
I took a moment to breathe and remembered a recent podcast I’d heard by Tara Brach where she asked,
What would you be doing if you had a year to live? A month? A week? A day? Ten minutes?
If I only had ten minutes to live, I wouldn’t worry about my 401k balance. I wouldn’t worry about anything. I’d want to spend my time laughing and being with friends and family.
Ironically, my sister also had a moment where she felt inadequate. She misunderstood the financial advisor and thought the rule-of-thumb minimum for retirement was the amount she should already have in her savings.
Inadequacy comes from comparison. You will always be less than some and more than some. Once you accept this, you’ll stop comparing yourself to others because you’ll realize it is pointless.
The Dirty Little Secret? We All Feel Inadequate.
When you realize that at some point everyone feels inadequate, it takes away inadequacy’s mojo. When we don’t talk about our feelings, that’s when they have power. Owning your feelings allows you to stop pretending to be someone you aren’t. It allows you to get off the never-ending treadmill of self-improvement.
We are constantly bombarded with media messages telling us we are inadequate. We need this product to make us feel better or to be sexier or to be loved.
You are not your 401k savings. You are not the number on your bathroom scale. You are not your relationship. Your job. Your health. You are you.
If you seek fulfillment from outside of you, you will always be searching. You’ll always feel inadequate. Your value is internal, not external. You’ll be happy when you decide to be happy. Your life will have purpose when you declare it to yourself. Sharing your feelings allows us to empathize. It is the antidote.
Let Go of Inadequacy: Reframe Your Story
Remember those ten minutes to live? Do you really want to spend your time in small thinking? You’ll always have moments where you feel inadequate. You mind will always chatter to you. But rather than let them run you, you can choose to change the channel of the burble in your mind. Choose to tune in to something more interesting and empowering.
Once I noticed the black hole in my belly, I thought, I don’t want to be doing this. It will be enough. It always is. With that thought, I was able to let go of my own inadequacy and move on.
Reframe your thinking.
You may feel inadequate, but you are perfect. Even your quirky, moody, prickly self. Be you, we’ll love for it.
Where have you been comparing yourself to others? What is this costing you? Share in the comments.