"The Hidden Scars of Inadequacy"
I'm going to take you way back - circa 1997 to be exact. I was ten years old then. No bills, no responsibilities, just homework and sports. Those were the days when kids stayed outside until the street lights came on. After school me and my buddies rushed home to fake our homework so we could go outside. Sports was all I ever thought about then. Posters of Troy Aikman and Ken Griffey Jr lined the walls of my room, which fueled my belief that I too could one day be like them. Thinking back to the formative years of my youth, I realized this was when I first came face to face with the complicated feelings of inadequacy.
"I'm last again?" I thought while I watched everyone else get picked ahead of me for the third time that week. Getting left out or picked last became the story of my young life. To be fair, many of the guys I played with were my friends and that’s what hurt the most. It affected my self esteem even though I tried so hard to pretend I was unbothered. It didn’t help that my childhood best friend Jr. happened to be the best at everything he did. The guy practically turned a ball into pure gold. He could put the ball in the hoop with the best of them. Not only could he hoop but he could run fast and catch a football like Jerry Rice. We were an odd pair of buddies but none the less I thanked God for him because he made sure not to leave me out of things when he had the chance to pick.
I wasn't very fast and with two left feet how could I have been? I had the chubby body of a used tire, or so I thought. My inability to perform well stemmed from my fear of not measuring up to the other guys. That led to me being over cautious and fearful. It was a tough concept to learn as a kid. The older guys we often played against didn't go light on me either. "Who wants to guard B?" "He ain't going to catch nothing anyway!" they’d all laugh and jeer. "Whatever," I'd mumble in an attempt to make it seem like I wasn't bothered by it. The truth was, I was bothered. Sadly, I began to accept the names and unfortunately I allowed those names to become apart of my identity. I carried that into other areas of my life too.
The feelings and thoughts I had about myself as a result of those events didn't go away even as I grew stronger, faster and much more capable. Inadequacy is one of those things that many people tuck it away - they bury it. As the years continued to go by I noticed moments where I'd catch myself retreating into that young man who'd been left on the sidelines. In order to grow, I had to deal with how I felt. Many still carry invisible scars from stabbing words and experiences that have cut deep and it's effects linger. Can you relate? Have you ever stopped yourself from speaking up? Have you ever felt easily forgotten? Do you still harbor pain from being laughed at or disregarded? Are you hard on yourself? Do you feel like you aren't worthy or deserving of good things in your life? Feelings of Inadequacy seem to nudge at us at times when we need our self confidence the most.
It's absolutely profound how things that have occurred long ago could still have the ability to affect the way we view ourselves. I found peace when I confronted my feelings head on. I found strength in learning to embrace my imperfections. Perfection, quite frankly is an illusion and it doesn't exist. It took a conscious effort on my part to examine my life in away that would cause me to think differently. If you are feeling the sting that comes from feeling like you aren’t good enough, I want you know I understand. As you've seen above, I've been there before many times through out my life. The feeling can drive you to question if you matter at all. You matter and you are enough. I encourage you to embrace who you are. Try not compare yourself to others as we all have our strengths and weaknesses. There's freedom in accepting yourself just as you are as you strive to become the best version of yourself.