Meeting Inadequacy in the Middle
I’ve always thought of myself as something of anomaly. I would never call myself an extrovert, but I am the friendliest introvert you will ever meet. While falling somewhere in the middle of every left or right brained test, I am both an artist and a science major. I am the middle girl in the midst of two sisters and a brother. While seemingly unconnected on paper, I let these metaphorical middle grounds I stand on have a play in a struggle of inadequacy that began when I was too young to understand what I was truly facing.
When I speak of feelings of inadequacy, I want you to know that I speak of a range of things. Coming from different areas of life I’ve found it manifest itself as a feeling of being unloved, not feeling special or qualified, or even thinking that a current level of talent doesn’t warrant pursuit of something. For me, all of these were tied up together. I remember being so young and feeling so frustrated with how I thought I was being treated and one day in my kitchen, in the midst of an argument involving several of us children, I just looked at my mom and let out all my pent up perceptions with “No one loves me.” I felt as if my differences disqualified me, made me bland and boring instead of unique and worthy. I was taking myself out of a picture of love by dwelling on discrepancies because I told myself that I didn’t belong. I don’t remember what my momma told me, but I know she took to another room, sat me down, and spoke truth into my life. She helped me to see past disagreements and my own impressions and put a cornerstone of security in my life. Being a more timid person by nature I clearly see how this played into my self-confidence, yet it still took time and struggles to even begin to bring this concept of security and confidence into other areas of my life.
With nursing as my career path and art as my hobby, I have had to tread with care. So often and so easily am I entrapped by thoughts of feeling less than others or comparing myself to them. What right do I have to even attempt certain things when at my level of knowledge and experience, my good days can’t even hold a light to others bad days? In this journey of life I have started from places I thought were nowhere, I have plateaued in mediocrity, and I have seen the things I was proud of critiqued beyond recognition. Through these things I have grown, and when I have not grown, I’ve had to learn.
In this journey of life I have started from places I thought were nowhere, I have plateaued in mediocrity, and I have seen the things I was proud of critiqued beyond recognition. Through these things I have grown, and when I have not grown, I’ve had to learn.
One of the biggest discouragements is the one that comes before you even begin. What would have happened if someone had told me, or if I had even told myself, that before I got into art I would have to make sure I was good at it? Sometimes we feel as if we are so far removed from the spectrum of talent and possibility of favorable results that when people say “everyone starts somewhere” we can’t even picture ourselves in a somewhere.
Sometimes we feel as if we are so far removed from the spectrum of talent and possibility of favorable results that when people say “everyone starts somewhere” we can’t even picture ourselves in a somewhere.
Instead of square one, we feel so far behind that we assume we’re actually at square zero. What I’ve heard people now deem as talent in my art only grew and blossomed out of stick figures and scribbles with absolutely no value or skill. When I started at the bottom, the only way I could go was up. If you feel like there is no way you could make the upward climb yet, start setting down roots. Make your waiting period into a strengthening, foundational time. I know there are those that say that the first step is the hardest, but for some the difficulty can come before even that with the setting of feet and pointing them towards a trail that looks so far out of your league it must be a joke. You don’t to have talent to try something. Don’t discredit yourself in the beginning. When in action, your desire to pursue can take you to places unmotivated talent could never reach.
Brace for the Bad Days
Something else I’ve had to learn is to give myself grace on the bad days. They can happen to anyone and everyone. I have come out of them both setback and discouraged, putting me in a place that sets me up for repeats of the same. If you feel like your bad days are consistent or often, take breather and figure out what you can do to keep moving even when you’re not on top of your game. Success is achieved by working hard whether you feel like it or not. I struggle with this so much. When I feel like things aren’t going great or won’t go well, I want nothing more than to curl up in a ball and take a nap or scroll aimlessly on social media. It’s hard to find that balance between pushing yourself to do better, and not overwhelming yourself. Sometimes I need that nap, but other times I know I could also get a little more work done first. I always say that baby steps are okay and progress is progress. You can still learn whether you’re moving forward, plateauing, or taking a small step back. You own your day even if it doesn’t go the way you want it. Having something termed as a “bad day” does not automatically mean there can be nothing good in it. One of the best lessons I’ve learned was that failure can move you forward, even if it moves you back first because it signifies learning and guidance for improvement.
Motivation for Movement
The way that you learn and improve may not look like someone else and that’s okay. How other people do their thing and the results they produce are their own. I know it has been said before by others, but the truth is that you are your own masterpiece in progress. The color you long to add to the canvas that is your life is not meant to be painted on in the same manner as it is in someone else’s life. People learn differently and at different times in their lives. Some work with a different style and at a different pace. While you may work for the same results, you can use your own uniqueness to guide you. Some endeavors require a certain process or time frame or outcome, but you get to choose your motivation and inspiration. Just because your process looks different than the person next to you does not mean you are any less than they are. The goal is not to be like anyone else, it is to be the best that you can be.
Often times passion is the starting point for pursuit. When the call comes to follow something that you love or feel the need to pursue, hesitancy can intrude when we look up at other people and never up at ourselves. To be inspired by and challenged to be better by others is a blessing, but comparison can kill our game when all we do is put ourselves down because we feel inadequate. When you put your mind to something, your worth is not measured by your natural talent or immediate ability for that thing. Strength is not the produce of ease, but rather the it is the rain that adds to us. Strength is not the produce of ease, but rather the it is the rain that adds to us.
Strength is not the produce of ease, but rather the it is the rain that adds to us.
Rain comes in seasons. Let your season be one of learning and growth, not of holding yourself to standards that are not meant for you. My hope is that you find not only a blessing in produce from your endeavors, but peace on your path.
All the love,
Mary Kate Brown