Sunday, January 29, 2017

Insecurity

After a long halt, the roller coaster whirs back into action. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we apologize for the delay," sounds the voice and then disappears.

The other day, I tried to explain to someone that even the rich, the famous, the beautiful and the intelligent (and what have you) get insecure sometimes. But getting the idea of a beautiful, elegant woman worrying about her looks or of that successful, intelligent businessman thinking he isn't good enough or the successful and talented actor/musician struggling to understand why others like what they do because all they can see are their faults.. across to this person was a struggle. There I was, trying to make a rock float when all it could do was sink.

Why do we find it so hard to believe that the people we admire look up to someone, too? That they, too, struggle with their crafts and sometimes can't believe their luck? "No one's noticed that I'm not quite as good as everyone thinks I am yet!" It  is this serious case of the impostor syndrome many of us experience in our chosen fields.. We didn't spend our entire lives being told that we are amazing. We were doubted and challenged. We worked our asses off to get to where we are now but it isn't always a bed of roses. But there have always been people have told us to give up on our dreams because it's too difficult, too rough and because we're not good enough. I can't stress enough how much doubt goes into making each piece of art and then daring to let the world see. "What if they don't like it? What if they hate it? What if it's not good enough? What if I'm not good enough?" The running commentary inside the head of even the most talented is like that inside the head of any normal person ever. Hell, the talented are normal people, too, we just like to think of them as somehow more fortunate than us and then we keep reiterating that to them; They are not allowed to complain because look at all of what they have.

But how do you explain all of this? How do you tell a student who felt they had to and still have to work harder than some of the other students in their class in order to get those straight A's that the ones they perceive as having it easy might work just as hard? How do you tell the intelligent student who thinks they are stupid that actually, they're just as intelligent as everyone else and that some of these things are difficult for all of us? How do you make that student realize that the one who always seems to know the right answer is just as scared to raise his/her hand as the student themselves is? How do you explain to that person who looks into the mirror every morning and sees nothing that they like that the people they think look good probably feel that way too?

The people we admire cannot let us into their heads but if they could, I am positive we would all realize just how similar we are. We all have our own problems, our own thoughts.. It is never silent anywhere because we are all constantly thinking and, especially in a school environment (or at that club or the bar or that common meeting place or the restaurant), often worrying about our perceived inferiority. Because what if the others notice that I am not as smart/talented/beautiful/fun/witty/interesting/etc. as they thought I am... would they still like me?

Here's to trying to stop comparing ourselves to others,
Stella

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