Have you ever felt like you weren’t enough? Whether that be not good enough, smart enough, talented enough, qualified enough, attractive enough, so on. What does it actually mean to be enough? To be greater than? To be less than? I’m asking you these questions because these are the questions that tend to run through my head when that monster named not enough comes up.
I found myself in this pessimistic mindset because I began to compare myself to other women. Specifically, some of the women in my age range that are around me on the daily. Rather than appreciating and empowering these women as I did in my Empower Fempower post, the monster, not enough came up and my perspective became clouded with comparisons. Through this clouded view, I focused on where these women were at in their careers, their relationship status, their personality type, and even their overall appearance. I was so focused on comparing myself in every aspect to these women’s that I forgot who I was, whose I was, and how great I am. To add fuel to this toxic fire I allowed this monster to start up in my head, I allowed other individuals in my environment who seemed to have their heads so far up these women’s asses to also make me feel like I wasn’t enough.
I’ve had the conversation of why and how I was feeling unwanted, not enough, lesser than, invisible, and so on and so forth with my mom and one or two close friends before, and while they were reassuring and helpful, the final confirmation I needed came from conversing with my best friend and sister, Erica. She helped me come to terms with the root of my emotions. She said these words to me, “It sounds like it’s not the women you are irritated with but the individuals in your environment who react and clamber to these women and overlook you in the process.” She went on further to say, “unfortunately, in situations like these you can’t do a lot. It’s either you deal and continue to be around these individuals or its to hell with them and you try meeting new people.” She even gave me an example of a time when she was in college and she felt the exact same way I did whenever she was around her friend—ugly, lesser than, not as smart, etc. She explained that she was pretty hard on herself because she was constantly comparing herself to her friend when the only thing her friend was doing was existing. The only way she came out of that place was by stopping with the comparisons. She had to come to the realization that just as there is someone for her friend, there is someone for her. While she can be disgusting to one person, she can be a goddess to another person. The way people react towards her and feel about her is something she cannot control, she can only control her ability to be the best version of herself.
The last thing she said about having control over how you feel reminded me of a quote one of my friends posted on Instagram, take a read below:
This quote was a great reminder that only I am in control of how I feel, not others. Only I determine how people make me feel and that I shouldn’t take the things that people say and do so personally to the point that I allow it to get the best of me. This was and still is a hard lesson for me to learn. I’m still routinely having to get past my whole second best, not enough, lesser than, underdog, unwanted complex that I tend to harbor on the inside. While continuing to combat those negative emotions and thoughts with self-love and positive affirmations as well as continuing to support and empower other women, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t control or force how people will treat me, react towards me, or how they respond to me. What I do have is the power to love myself and appreciate and reciprocate to those who do the same genuinely. Anything beyond that is out of my control.
A major part of overcoming the ability to compare yourself to others is realizing your worth. When I said I had the power to love myself, that means finding the self-love that was always instilled within me but just got tangled up with my negative emotions and thinking. I even allowed the suburban bubble I live in to add to my overall negative complex for far too long, which is something I’m working on overcoming as well. I’ve struggled with being surrounded by people that generally look the same and absolutely nothing like me. This hasn’t always been a struggle, but as of lately it has. Where I live, I’m a rarity, an acquired taste, and I know it. From the outside looking in I’m a black girl with a short, bold, blonde haircut (fade to be exact), golden, flawless complexion (I literally glow in pictures), plethora of piercings and a unique style to match (yes, I’m tooting the crap out of my own horn because, self-love). You don’t see one of me walking around this side of town every day. Which makes it all the more difficult for people who are used to seeing the All-American girl or the type of girl who’s just as plastic as Barbie from her silicon boobs and butt to her waist-trainer induced coke bottle shape, burnt skin for the sake of getting “darker,” lip injections to get that “fuller” lip look, and so on and so forth to look at me and appreciate what they see.
Rather, when people look at me, I get one of three reactions. One is confusion as to whether or not I am a girl and if they’ve decided that I am the next thing they begin to question is my sexuality due to my haircut because I suppose heterosexual girls having fades is still unheard of these days. Another reaction I get is they just stare and don’t say anything, which isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing because I don’t know what they’re thinking but it makes me feel super self-conscious and insecure. The final and rarest reaction of all is that they think I look beautiful and unique. I usually experience the latter. Erica put it this way, “There’s a reason Rihanna is single and all the girls on Instagram who have surgery to look like replicas of one another have a man.” Nowadays, you would think that being unique and different is something to be embraced especially with all the social changes in society but being too unique can be a negative depending on your environment and surroundings. For me, being who I am and looking the way I do has always been easily embraced and appreciated whenever I travel to different cities, states, and other parts of the world, but in my suburban Katy, Texas bubble, I feel like a needle in a haystack, forever lost and covered up by the majority. Being the rarity surrounded by the majority of women such as I described on the daily can make it all too easy for comparisons to kick in and get the best of me—and it has. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this post.
Regarding comparisons, social media can definitely play devil’s advocate if you allow it to. Social media can have you sitting down somewhere stuck and in your feelings. Scrolling through and seeing how people make everything that glitters look gold and believing it can take a toll and have you viewing people and things the way I initially did, through a clouded, negative perspective. Rather, what I’ve learned about myself is that when I am unable to get on social media platforms and scroll through my timeline without feeling some type of way than I don’t need to be on there. It’s time to delete the app from my phone and take a break until I am able to separate my emotions and reality from the fictitious displays people sometimes post on social media. It’s not even so much about viewing other people’s posts, it’s about what viewing those posts can do to you. Sometimes it can trigger that not enough monster to the point that you begin expressing yourself negatively on social media. Let people think everything is going great or keep them guessing what’s going on with you but don’t be so quick to put your feelings on blast for the world to see. No one deserves to see that part of you or have that type of power over you.
By that I mean, just as the saying goes, misery needs company, there are people out there that thrive off of negativity and hate. When you’re posting about how you don’t feel like you’re enough, lesser than, the underdog, invisible, etc., they’re watching, laughing, and plotting. And they’ve most likely hopped on the negative train because they are harboring some of the same insecurities. I’m not saying you have to be happy-go-lucky and positive Polly all the time, but just be wise about what you post when your emotions aren’t in line or negative thoughts start filling your head because you never know who’s watching and whose plotting against you. A wise friend warned me to be careful of people that foster negativity in your spirit because you are a light that needs to be protected. I think this is something we should all be mindful of because it’s so much easier to foster negativity than it is positivity.
Speaking of positivity, for those of you who have read my previous blog posts, you know that I always try and shed some positivity at the end. The positive spin here is that although I still haven’t quite mastered the art of controlling my emotions, I have been able to regain that self-confidence that I’ve always had within and I’ve also removed the people that I’ve allowed to make me feel lesser than or not enough from my life. That has been a major help because I’m no longer filling my environment with negative beings but rather positive, light-filled beings who make me feel appreciated and allow the best parts of myself to come alive. It’s not necessarily about the environment you are in, but the environment you create for yourself by the people and things you allow to enter in, stay, and whether or not you allow your circumstances and those individuals to control how you feel. Since speaking with my mom and best friend and sister Erica, coming to terms with my emotions, and removing certain people from my life I’ve been feeling much greater than less than (did you see what I did there?) Tell me, how are you feeling? Greater than? Less than? Let’s talk about it.
Continue to experience the Life of Tai in my next post…
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