Written by Trisha Mi
Most of us have had that feeling of being watched as we walked past a big crowd or entered an unfamiliar room for the first time. Depending on our self esteem, we would have felt either superior or inferior to these strangers (unless we were too tired or hungry to care about the thoughts of others). However, it is more common for a majority of us to feel the latter rather than possess the feeling that we are a step above others. But why is this?
Each and every single one of us carries a unique story. Shaped by our individual backgrounds and experiences, we have landed here today with the perspectives, beliefs, attitudes and habits that we call ours. Perhaps after listening to a mutual friend’s life story, or having just scrolled through a friend’s Instagram posts, we may sometimes feel that our life just… doesn’t match up to theirs. “Wow, what have I been doing with my life?” “Why isn’t my life interesting?””Am I really such a boring person?” These questions may sound familiar.
Ah, here comes the lecture about comparison. Indeed, laying down our reality next to the one that others portray to us can really dampen our belief in ourselves. We all know that we shouldn’t compare ourselves with each other, but we also know that this is easier said than done. Our eyes unavoidably take in information from the world around us, so putting aside that overused phrase, appearances do matter – regardless of how much we try to not be influenced by it, particularly regarding body image.
Although our modern society is trying to change the mentality that only a certain type of image is “normal” or “admirable”, the struggle of many people to accept or believe this still persists. Personally, only a handful of people I know take pride in their looks. The internal war to be at peace with one’s looks and body is an art I find rare to come across.
But all of us are interesting individuals – sometimes we just don’t yet know in what way. A really helpful toolkit we could use to help us feel more empowered is to ask ourselves some deep questions and do some soul-searching. There are many web pages online with questions that make you halt in your thoughts and go “huh, why don’t I know myself well?”
Getting to know ourselves better is the key way we can gain more confidence. Great insights can be made, and these discoveries can also turn into great topics of conversation. Why not be that person with the most unique questions for others? Having recognised your quirks and your flaws, take pride in these daily habits, mistakes, and successes. These are the primary things that set us apart from the rest as they are the biggest pieces of our past that we bring around with us. Take the time to recall them and most importantly, own them! If questions are thrown our way, believe that your story is special; go ahead and project your reasons and opinions.
Inferiority lives in and feeds on our minds. Although it is true that we cannot control how we feel all the time, what we can pilot is the intensity of the emotions experienced. Whenever we feel this negativity about to cast a shadow over us, it would be wise if we took a moment to quiet down on the inside and take inventory of what’s happening. Once we get this done it becomes easier to get in touch with our inner voice, keeping it from screaming and running around in worry, making us feel more in control too.
As college and university kids, we are surrounded by tons of other youth who are also on the journey of paving a road to their future. They can be our friends, people we simply recognise on campus, or strangers we wish we knew better (talk about that crush). If you can imagine us as walking storybooks, that’s exactly what we are: waiting to tell our stories to others, wanting them to come closer and know us too. So be the brave one, and make the initiative to discover your own and others’ pages.
Our world is composed of people with great diversity. Not just in terms of appearances or language but of beliefs, visions, dreams and longings. It is this great variation that makes this world a fun place to be in, so before you trot out with confidence in your story, get to know yourself. Once you have, feelings of inferiority will be out the window!