Most of us have heard of the terms; superiority and inferiority. Those two terms are used when describing our ego. Psychologists use it when talking about the “I” complex (Superiority complex, inferiority complex).
They developed the “I” complex to help us figure out, which “I” do we identify ourselves best with.
It helps them identify which “I” do we mean when we say “I”, and where in the scale do we rate ourselves.
Some people are very familiar with superiority complex. People who have a superiority complex like to think they are the most important person at any event. At the opposite end of the spectrum we find people with inferiority complexes. People with an inferiority complex suffer from an overmodest self regard.
Looking at it from the distance, one would quickly make a judgment of assumption. Most of us would assume that people with a superiority complex have a very strong like of themselves; however those with enough knowledge and/or self experience can see past it; and understand that superiority and inferiority complexes are both sides of a fragile ego. Neither one is healthy; one of them has delusions of grandeur and the other one delusions of insignificance.
There is a third way of being; called Interiority. Interiority is the healthiest way one can be. It is what all of us should strive to be because it is completely uncompetitive. In reality all of us were born with an interiority estate of being.
When we were little we didn’t understand the concept of competing or comparing, as such our id regulated a very healthy ego.
As children, we do not suffer from either superiority or inferiority. Both concepts became known to us as we grew up by the lessons our parents taught us, the lessons we learned from those who surrounded us the most, and whatever life experiences we faced.
Both superiority and inferiority complexes depend on other people.
People who suffer from a superiority complex need other people to feel smaller than them. People who suffer from a superiority complex tend to be boisterous. They suffer from the “I need everyone to look at me syndrome” , “Look at how nice I am syndrome”, “Look at how much I have syndrome”.
People with an inferiority complex need other people to feel larger than them. They do these by suffering of the “I am going to be find out syndrome” or the “I need someone to defend me syndrome”, “please don’t let anyone notice me syndrome”.
Interiority on the other hand is an entirely un-relative concept. It operates from an advantage point; it is an orientation. It is the only place where you will feel safe, because it operates from a estate of mind that understands there is no competition.
Many of us tend to compare ourselves with so many people, reality however is that there is no other person like you. Try to find someone out there just like you; make a check list; and you will see that no one can compare to you.
Even if you were to put yourself side to side with another person who has been raised in the same way as you, and was challenged by the same life experiences; there is a thing called perception. Your perception of things will not ever be the same as another person’s.
Very few people live from an interiority estate of mind. They do not need approval from others because they know the only approval that matters is the one they give themselves. To learn to live from interiority we need to learn to look in. We need to learn to value our moments of solitude.
It isn’t easy, as the hardest road or journey you will ever take is the one inside you; to remember and get reacquainted with who you were born to be.
When we are teenagers we are at our most vulnerable; specially in a society that promotes competition. We tend to learn to want to be like the ones we consider popular, the stars we watch on tv, magazines, etc.
As we grow up we will either have emerged from our teenage years exhausted from trying to keep up with others, or still lost in the idea that one day we will achieve a status of being the best(superiority), the most beautiful, etc; not realizing the concept of beauty and success is by definition not attainable, as it varies according to each person’s perception of what beauty and success is.
Through the years I realized there is no one like me, and it has helped me rediscover myself. Some people may judge this as a condescending statement but it is not. No one out there is like me, just like no one out there is like you. There are many beautiful people out there, but they are not me;I am me.
Only I can think like me, love like me, grieve like me, communicate like me. There is no real reason for me to worry abut anyone else because they are not my competition. I am on a league of my own, and each one of you is on a very unique league.
The female poet Jill Scott once said, “We all have our own thing. We all come with our own sense of strength; that is the magic!. We all have our own kingdom”. So you see my kingdom can never compare to yours, and yours can never compare to mine.
Most of us don’t even realize we have a kingdom. What does it look like?. If you want to discover it, you need to let go of competition. You need to live liberated from the idea that someone else can be you, or that you can be them. When you look at yourself from that point of view, you learn to embrace yourself more, as the realization hits home that you are beautiful, even more so because you can see that no one else is like you.
We need to start looking at ourselves differently. You are not your job title, you are not you because you are someone’s mom, someone’s boss, someone’s partner, someone’s anything. You are yourself.
We need to learn that there are as many opinion’s of you as there are people out there. Once more it comes down to perception. If you keep trying to be what everyone expect you to be, then you will live like a slave, and loose yourself.
I speak from experience. It is hard to please everyone. Your parents will have a perception of who you are and who you should be. Their perception will be different than the one other relatives may have, and theirs will be different than your friends’ and coworkers’ perception. None of those people realize that none of them know the real you, only you can know the real you.
Growing up I battled between being me and being what others expected of me. Then it hit me. The biggest reason I was such a threat to others was because although I battled internally, I’ve still managed to live life on my terms. Yes I made mistakes, but they came from my own choices, and I’ve learned.
I didn’t give up my power of choice to someone else; I fought for it. Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad, but at least it helped me remain in touch with me. I believe it is that ability which has helped be here today in the way that I am.
Some days are better than others; but that goes for every one of us. There are days that you get up and everything seems to work just right. You feel fabulous, top of your game, you are on fire!.
There are other days; at least for me; in which you struggle to keep everything in place, everything seems so heavy, you can’t even remember who you are, or how to speak.
I am learning that it comes down to identifying what makes the bad days different than the good days. Could be as simple as lack of sleep, or as complicated as juggling many goals, or maybe someone hurt you and you battle with how you see yourself.
I am still learning to identify triggers; I am getting better at it.
If the trigger was someone trying to make me feel bad, I feel the hurt, and then I literally say one of two things in my mind: “It is your perception of me, and I forgive you” or “Fuck off! you don’t have a freaking clue who I am, so you don’t get to decide how am I to be”, so you see, I wont pretend that I got all my shit figured out.
Like many of you I struggle, but each day less. Is okay to some days be more forgiving than others. Is okay to be more understanding of some people vs. others. No one knows exactly what goes in my life, so no one gets to judge why I am the way I am with some people.
The fact that I can mentally tell the person to fuck off doesn’t mean anything less about me. I am feeling the emotion and letting go of it. I guarantee you that afterwards that person doesn’t even matter to me, because I am learning to refocus on those who make my life brighter, not those who try to hurt me or bring their crap into my life.
Don’t be afraid to feel the emotion, because it will help you move on into a place of interiority.
Feeling an emotion is not bad, don’t feel ashamed of it. If you are going to be ashamed, be ashamed if you are vindictive, hypocritical, able to fake a smile while you hurt others; those are actions you need to feel ashamed about; not feeling a natural emotion when someone hurts you.
We need to give up our approval addiction. Sadly I find that approval addiction is more predominant within my gender. Ladies, you need to give that up because it is one of the most debilitating traits. Needing other people’s approval, loving other people’s opinion of you and mistaking for your own, will only leave you depleted. The show you are putting on is not worth it, it will leave you alone, and frustrated. A very intelligent lady said “you will never ever be perception less, but it is very important to be perception free”.
Becoming perception free will help you achieve interiority. How do you become perception free?, easy; close your eyes and picture yourself as your ideal self. What would you be like?.
Now this exercise is not about you picturing someone else or being like someone else. I want you to close your eyes and bring to mind all of YOUR strengths, and now embody them. Look at yourself with all of your strengths, how do you look?. Then bring to your mind, yourself with all your negative traits. For every negative trait you got, imagine its opposite and now impose it on the image you have of yourself. That is your ideal!. This exercise is one of the many NLP exercises which can help you transform your life.
When doing the exercise please be realistic and gentle with yourself. The whole point of it is to identify you, not to punish you.
This exercise isn’t about being fake, or pretending to be someone you are not. This exercise is to help you develop your inner self. It is to help you rediscover who you once were, to let go of old habits and build new healthy ones. That isn’t being fake, is about moving, is about possibility, potential. THAT is working on yourself!.
Look at it another way. Your strengths are your back bone, the things you want to work on are your wish bone; and even that is unique because its your constructive self or adaptive personality.
It is unique because no one in the world has had the same experiences that you have. Your wish bone, is the you that keeps moving and changing all the time, and it helps you avoid being stagnant.
You don’t want to be like those people who tell you they have lots of experience, but reality is they just have lots of years. They became stagnant at who they were. Your job is to be a better you every year. First accept that you are different, and then make it your job to figure out how you are different. Once you discovered how, your job will change. You will go from needing to discover how, to being more of it.
There are times in our lives that facilitate change. They are what others call “intervals of possibility”. There are times in you life where you can sense the potential for change is heightened. You meet a stranger at a bar or a coffee shop, you get to decide how you will react. A new job is offered to you, and you get to decide. You meet someone that challenges you to be more of you, who isn’t afraid of you, but loves the weird rollercoaster that is you, and wants you to be more of it, once more you get to decide.
At those moments you know you are being pushed by life; its giving you the opportunity to make the changes that are needed to be more of you.
Sadly most of these intervals are catastrophic, because most of us would rather remained zoned out or to sleep walk through life. I called them catastrophic because usually it takes you hitting rock bottom, or getting ill, or getting fired, or someone you love got ill and you lost them. Whatever it is, it makes you look at your life, and revaluate it.
The problem when it happens catastrophically is that you are vulnerable.
We need to learn to ask ourselves those life changing questions when we are well, healthy, safe, loved, because it is then that those questions become more useful and the transition less painful.
So let’s stop the circle of self congratulation, and self castigation (superiority/inferiority). The whole point is to build a healthy relationship with our own ego. Is not about letting go of your ego; as some say.
If you didn’t have an ego you would be lost; is about taking your ego from its dominant position, pull it back and put it in service to yourself. That is when your ego becomes its most helpful. In order to do that you got to find your mid point; this is called equanimity or equilibrium.
The type of confidence that comes from a place of equilibrium is real, not faked for a day, and can not be challenged. It is a confidence that is undisturbed; that type of confidence is what is called interiority. Yes bad things will still happen, and they may still affect you, but it won’t challenge or make you question your worth, yourself, your path.
After you arrive to that place, you will discover or rather rediscover you. The you that you were as a child, or that you will most likely be when you are senile; but why wait till then; because by then, there will be too many regrets.
Remember that you are a spiritual/sensual being in a physical body. We concentrate too much on the machine that is our body and not enough on our mind and spirit.
Our bodies are beautiful, specially the female body; but at the end still a body. If you spend your life competing with others physically you will loose yourself. Treat your body right but remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I learned a terminology from my partner called “beauty in a can”, what he means by that, is the type of physical appearance that anyone can achieve after hours of makeup, fake eyelashes, fake hair, fake nails, etc. Women specially need to understand that at the end of the night you will have to wash your face, when you make love, your partner will see your nakedness; so don’t waste so much time on just your appearance.
Question yourself as to what the message of your life will be. I admire Ghandi, his life was his message; for me however I had the honour to have a closer role model.
I am talking about my maternal grandfather. I didn’t live with him long, but he was an exemplary man. He used to sit me down to listen to him talk with priests, pastors, rabbis, magic men, etc.
I learned from him that God isn’t a religion and that when people really love God they do not put others from different believes down, but are open to listening to other people’s views because of their desire to understand God.
They know God is expressed in everything, and like nature it is different in its expressions.
I watched him take in and protect others; not just his family; when terrorists attacked his town. I saw how he shared what he had, not what was left of what he had. He never stole from others. He fed and clothed the poor, he helped families who could not afford their kid’s education, he took in orphans and raised them as his own. He was gentle but he was also strong. He stood up when it was necessary, and he was never ever fake. You either loved him or hated him, but even those who hated him, respected him.
When my grandfather died, there was no need for invitations to his funeral.
My family had planned a small gathering, what I saw instead at the church and afterwards will always be my propeller in life. I saw so many people attend his funeral; the church was packed. So many people came to his house to pay their respects to my grandmother. The orphans that had grown came with their families to remember the man who had changed their lives.
To this day my grandmother never remarried, and there was a big age difference between them. She was and is a striking woman, and had plenty of opportunities, but instead she remained alone. She did this not because she had to, but because that man; my grandfather; was special man and she knew anyone else would have had some very big shoes to fill.
The point of my story comes down to the question, “What will be your life’s message?”.
Will others attend your funeral because your life was worth remembering or because they had to.
Our human lives are but specs in this universe. When you die, will you be remembered or will you be forgotten?. Will you be the ripple that moved the waters?.
Many of us think we are too insignificant to change anything. There is the ripple effect. Make your life count for something; be like water, it is soft but also strong. Within it, it carries life but it also has the strength to perforate and break rocks.
“The surface of things gives enjoyment, their interiority gives life”