Psychologists 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. “Superiority” and “Inferiority” are probably the most commonly known complexes used to describe our ego. However, there is also another term “Interiority”, which is the most productive and beautiful way to be; you will come to better understand each one these complexes as the article progresses.
People who have a superiority complex suffer from an overinflated yet fragile false ego; they like to think they are the most important person at any event, as such they always seek to be the center of attention. At the opposite end of the spectrum we find people with inferiority complexes; people with an inferiority complex suffer from an overmodest self regard.
From a distance, most would assume people with a superiority complex have a very strong like of themselves; however, those with enough knowledge and/or self experience can see past the false layer. Although superiority and inferiority seem disconnected from one another, they are really the two sides of the false 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, as it is completely uncompetitive. In reality all of us were born with an interiority estate of being, over time we lost the natural connection between our core and our healthy ego, which got replaced by the false ego due to false conditioning, wounds, traumas.
When we are little we don’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, those concepts became known through 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 are externally dependent, which means they require other people or exterior circumstances to validate them…
People who suffer from a superiority complex need other people to feel smaller than them. They tend to be boisterous, as 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 in order to feel good, they make themselves smaller than those they surround themselves by. They suffer of the “I am going to be find out syndrome”, “I need someone to defend me syndrome”, “please don’t let anyone notice me syndrome”.
More than a complex, Interiority 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, when in reality there are no two people alike. If you don’t believe this, try to find someone out there just like you; make a check list and you will see no one is exactly like you, as such no one can compare to you.
Even if you were to put yourself side by side with another person who has been raised in the same way as you, challenged by the same life experiences; the two of you would still be different, for 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. These type of people are not afraid to swim against the current, 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, face, heal and integrate our light and darkness. 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…the road won’t be easy or fast but it is one worth taking.
One of the biggest crossroads we face in life, presents itself when we are teenagers, for at that time 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 most likely either have emerged from our teenage years exhausted from trying to keep up with others or lost between superiority and inferiority.
It takes years, more importantly, it takes courage and determination to be your authentic self; realizing, no one out there is like you. There are many beautiful and talented people out there, but they are not you; only you can be you. Only you can think, love, grieve, communicate like you; there is no real reason for you to worry abut anyone else because they are not in any way competition to your authentic being. You are on a league of your own, the moment we realize and accept this as an absolute truth, is the moment we take our power back.
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. My kingdom can never compare to yours nor yours can ever compare to mine”
Most of us are so lost in the rat maze, we don’t even realize we have a kingdom, much less know what it looks 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 vantage point of view, you learn to embrace yourself more; as the realization hits home through the inner work, you will blossom more and more.
We need to start looking at ourselves differently and stop identifying ourselves by the masks we portray or the things we do to survive; 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 there are as many opinion’s of you as there are people out there. If you keep trying to be what everyone expects you to be, then you will live as a slave and lose 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 relatives may have and theirs will be different than your friends’ and coworkers’ perception. None of those people realize 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 most of my life on my terms. Yes I was hurt by others and made mistakes of my own but I learned and chose to live life without apologizing for my existence. I didn’t give up my power of choice to someone else; I fought to take it back. It is in cultivating and embracing the ability to be myself, which has helped me reacquaint myself with my uniqueness and discover my own talents. The road to reclaiming self is not easy, as we are taught to fear the shadow; it is a common misconception that the shadow is home to the worst parts of ourselves. In reality, the shadow is home to the original parts of ourselves we rejected; for this reason, the shadow is full of untapped potential and creativity.
Reclaiming yourself is a beautiful yet arduous process; some days will be better than others but that is the natural process of life. There are days 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 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; the more we learn to identify the differences, the more we are able to dictate the outcome of our day.
Personally, I am still learning to identify triggers; slowly getting better at it. If the trigger was someone trying to make me feel bad, I feel the discomfort or hurt and then I mentally say one of two things: “It is your perception of me, and I forgive you” or if they were a total asshole, then I let out the frustration by saying “Fuck off! you don’t have a freaking clue who I am, so you don’t get to decide how am I to be”. I am not going to pretend to be forgiving, forgiveness is a natural process which cannot take place if we go around repressing emotions. In some ways we are like a pressure cooker, the more we repress the more dangerous it can be; the moment we let out the steam (gradually) the safer it is; besides by expressing the latter quote in my mind, I am not hurting anyone else.
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 simply feel the emotion and let go of it. I guarantee you afterwards that person’s actions don’t matter to me because I am learning to refocus on those who make my life brighter, not on those who try to hurt me or bring me down. I recognize, the more I work on myself, the more I will be in control of my emotions in a way that nothing good or bad will shake my core; however, to get there, one needs to accept things as they are, not deny them and pretend to cool and collected.
Don’t be afraid to feel emotions because they will help you move on into a place of INTERIORITY. As I have already stated, feeling an emotion is not bad, don’t feel ashamed of it. If you are going to be ashamed, be so when you are vindictive, hypocritical, able to fake a smile while you hurt others; those are actions you need to feel ashamed about, not for feeling a natural emotion when someone hurts you.
We need to give up our approval addiction. Sadly I find approval addiction is more predominant within my gender. Approval addiction is one of the most debilitating traits; needing other people’s approval, loving other people’s opinion of you, 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?…Close your eyes and picture yourself as your ideal self, what would that self be like?
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 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. Your job is to be a better you every year. First accept 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. There are times in life where you can sense the potential for change is heightened, these times are called “intervals of possibility”. 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 how your life will unfold if you accept the offer. 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 needed to be more of you.
Sadly most of these intervals are catastrophic, because most of us would rather remained zoned out or 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. It is not about letting go of your ego as some say but to let go of the FALSE ego. If you didn’t have an ego you would be lost, is about taking your false ego from its dominant position, pull it back, unhook yourself from it. Then embrace your healthy ego 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 cannot be challenged. It is a confidence that is undisturbed; that type of confidence is what is called interiority. 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 which was carefree as a child or that you will most likely be when you are senile, but why wait till then? If you do there will be too many regrets.
Remember 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 is still a body. If you spend your life competing with others physically you will lose 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, taking all that stuff off. 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 honor 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, magick men, etc. I learned from him that God isn’t a religion and when people really love God (the divine) they do not put others from different beliefs down but are open to listening to other people’s views because of their desire to understand the divinity.
They know God is expressed in everything and like nature it is different in its expressions.
I watched my grandfather take in and protect others; not just his family. When terrorists attacked his town, I watched 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 was very large number of people whom he had affected in a positive way and changed their lives or helped them improve. That image became my propeller; he didn’t go around looking for people to help, he simply was and by giving himself permission to shine he show others how to do so
To this day my grandmother never remarried which shocked many as 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 chose not to remarried not out of some false sense of loyalty or modesty but because her husband had been the love of her life. She was his second wife and they were always a complicated couple but one who love each other dearly. They understood each other in a way most only dream of; most only dream of it, because they spend their whole lives pretending to be someone they are not or trying to be like someone else. My grandparents were real with each other, that was their magick.
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 feel they have to?
Our human lives are but specs in this universe; when we die, we will either be remembered or will be forgotten? Will you be the ripple that moved the waters? or will you be the rock which remained stagnant at the bottom of the creek?
Many of us think we are too insignificant to change anything yet the truth is that life is based ripple effect. Make your life count for something, be like water, it is soft but also strong. Within it, carries life but it also has the strength to perforate and break rocks.
“The surface of things gives enjoyment, their interiority gives life”