Back in January when I was at the GetOutside Champions launch in the New Forest I spoke about the fact that I am often the one sat in the corner feeling like I don’t fit in. I’m a bit of an introvert, shy, probably even socially awkward in some ways. I get nervous, worried, apprehensive. Especially when I am with a group of people that I think are out of my league.
Looking over Cheddar Gorge.
I recently learned that this is a thing. This idea of feeling inferior, like you are an imposter in life, is an actual thing that people have studied and researched and does indeed exist. It’s a problem for many people. I’ve been looking into it and I totally relate to a lot of the writings on imposter syndrome, and I might write more on that another time. But today I wanted to bring to you a small challenge to try and help you (and me) feel a little less inferior than the others in the room.
Like most people, I find myself comparing my life and achievements to those of other people a lot of the time. Not necessarily openly or consciously, but very much inside my mind, without even realising it. I struggle to go up to people and introduce myself properly. Rather I say things like “oh I’m just a blogger” or “oh I just like hiking”. That just is my way of putting myself at the bottom of the group, downplaying my achievements, and demonstrating that I am not good enough. We all do it, and it’s very dangerous to our own self confidence.
Inferior: Lower in rank, status, or quality.
Right, let’s get this one out of the way straight away. There will always be people who have done something bigger or better than you. Oh yes. Unless you really are at the top of the proverbial game, in which case you are probably not reading a blog post by a random blogger right now, you are most likely somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to life. Others will have a higher paid job, a more interesting career, have done a longer road trip, a bigger hike, a more difficult expedition, they probably get more daily hits on their blog or likes on their Instagram account, maybe they travel more, take better photos, have more friends, cook nicer food.
Life is basically one big social media feed, and while there is definitely a move towards a more real world online where people share the difficulties as well as the perfection, it is still so easy to end up believing you are inferior. The fact is that we all have different skills, different jobs, different desires. That is what makes the world an interesting place. And so what if someone else does something bigger or longer or faster than you?
Riding my bike in Zion National Park.
I have learnt that while some people we meet do indeed look down on you (I will never forget the day that someone I looked up to told me that the trip of my lifetime was not an adventure, it was only a holiday, because I didn’t go anywhere that he considered wilderness – I was hurt and completely goes against my definition of adventure), the vast majority are encouraged and inspired by the achievements and successes of others.
The problem is that we are so good at comparing ourselves to those who seem to be getting it all right, that we end up downplaying anything and everything that we achieve ourselves. And that leads us to feel inferior. And when we feel inferior, we stop striving to be better for ourselves. Comparison and competition in life should be confined to being with yourself. Not what have you done compared to that other person across the room, who has totally different circumstances and life goals, but rather what have you done this time compared to the last time you did this?
So I have a very small challenge for you.
Celebrating Your Success – Comment Below
Let’s celebrate our successes, as these are the things that enhance and enrich our lives. When we focus on the things we are proud of, that go well, that we consider achievements, we will be encouraged and motivated. And as a result, we will do more and achieve more – success breeds success after all.
Comment below with one thing that you have achieved in the last 12 months that you are proud of.
It could be anything. Maybe you got a new job, rose to a challenge, had an adventure or went on an expedition, hiked or ran further than you ever have before, made some extra money from a hobby, learned something new, mastered something you’ve been trying to do for years, became a good friend, faced a fear, stuck to a new healthy habit or broke an unhealthy habit.
Hopefully something as simple as commenting on this blog post with one thing you are proud of from the last year will offer you a little boost and help you realise that you are not inferior.
Hiking at Ingleton Waterfalls.
We need to realise that it is okay to be proud of ourselves. We can tell ourselves that we are good, that we are doing okay, that we have been successful. It’s not fine to be arrogant or use your pride to be rude to or about others, but so good and important to use the feeling of accomplishment to make yourself smile and drive yourself forward to your next goal. The idea is that once you are feeling good about your achievements, once you are celebrating them, you will stop using that just word when describing yourself and comparing yourself quite as much to those around you.
Use this opportunity to put your hand up and share something of that pride and be happy in your own accomplishment without comparing yourself to anyone else. Share below, and let’s be encouraged and inspired by each other.