So here is my question for this week? What are you choosing to agree to and what are you choosing not to agree to any more? I have been spending a lot of time the last several months, well maybe years now, reflecting on what I agree to and what I use to agree to and no longer do and what I don’t agree with. Perhaps what got me thinking about this recently are conversations with my students, who even at the beginning of the semester, are comparing themselves to others in the class and assuming that they are inferior to their peers.
What I have been saying, well actually typing, as this is an online class, is that you have to agree you are less and that someone else is more to feel inferior. Others may treat you as if you are inferior, but unless you agree that you are inferior, you are not. How many times in your life have others tried to make you feel inferior? Ok, now how many times have you agreed with them in your mind? How many times have you told yourself that you are not enough of something or too much of something?
From the day we are born, it can feel as if we are exposed to messages of inferiority on a daily basis. You are too short, too tall, too thin, too fat, not smart enough, too smart, not fast enough, too fast, and the list goes on. we contribute to so much suffering in our lives by agreeing that we are inferior for these and or other reasons or comparing ourselves to someone else. I know lots of people who are taller then me (at 4’11” that is not a hard thing to do). I know people who are thinner then me (again not a hard thing to do). I know people who have more education, less education, are more outgoing, less outgoing, and the list goes on. However, none of that makes us inferior to each other. What it makes us is unique and precious just as we are.
We can no more compare ourselves to others as we can compare apples to oranges. Apples are awesome and oranges are awesome, but apples are not oranges and oranges are not apples. If I compare myself to those in my life and internalized all those messages, I would be severely depressed. I am who I am and you are who you are. It is that simple. Love you for who you are and stop comparing yourself to anybody who is not you.
If others say you are too much or too little of something, you do not have to agree with them. They can say what they want, but it is only true if you agree it is true. I once wrote a poem about all the things people had said I was too much or too little of which I had allowed to make me feel inferior. I had to learn to no longer agree with those things others had said or even the negative things I had begun to say to myself.
Learning to agree that we are unique and precious individuals just as we are can take practice for some. Some of us have become so accustomed to agreeing to our own inferiority. So just for today, agree to not agree to anything which makes you feel inferior regardless of who is saying it. Just for today, celebrate you for who you are and remember that you are unique and incomparable to anyone else. Just for today, tell yourself you are special just as you are. Can you agree to that?