Our fear IS that we are inadequate.
In our journey, the persistent fear looms — the fear of inadequacy. Drawing from personal experiences, I find that encountering someone else's accolades or recognition can evoke a sense of longing: When will it be my turn? Despite our efforts to downplay the importance of external validation, it lingers, even if it's just that last 1% of what we stand for. Acknowledging the "likes" on our posts and the audience browsing our pages, we yearn to be seen for the effort we've invested. Reaching out to connect, especially outside our industry, can sting when faced with disinterest. The internal questioning begins: What's wrong with me? I've showcased my work, proven my worth, and articulated my value. So, what is it?
As we age, some may find solace in their established support systems and careers, content with life's trajectory. However, for those navigating new facets of getting older, encountering life's unexpected challenges, such as racism and ageism, can compromise mental health, triggering the fear of inadequacy. Feeling inadequate, synonymous with "not enough or good enough/insufficient/lacking," isn't unfamiliar territory. Even if fleeting, these moments challenge our self-perception.
The familiar quote attributed to Marianne Williamson resonates:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us."
Now, consider a different perspective: What if our deepest fear is that we are inadequate because we are powerful beyond measure, yet that power goes unrecognized?
While our support system may acknowledge our worth, the persistent craving for external validation remains. In this narrative, the fear evolves -- the light we naturally offer morphs into darkness, and that transformation is what truly frightens us.
Despite knowing our inner selves, the hurt lingers when others perceive us from an unrecognizable source of light – darkness.
"It's ok to not be ok" this familiar quote echoes.
And as Najwa Zebian wisely puts it in her book, "Welcome Home," we must embrace our struggles:
Sit with it. Have tea with it. Understand it.
Then let it leave.