It’s one of my most favorite quotes: “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission”–by Eleanor Roosevelt. So often I hear its message in my thoughts, and it quickly reminds me that I am the driver of my own destiny. Meaning–together with Spirit and the Universal Flow–I choose how to live my life.
All too often people see this statement as choosing what your life will be–and for some that’s the case for sure. But for many of us, this really means we are choosing how to BE in our lives, in our space, in the family into which we were born, the talents and gifts we have been given. It doesn’t always mean that we can choose to become something we are clearly not…only that we can make peace with all that we so perfectly ARE. This strays a bit from my original thoughts in beginning this post, so let me move us back toward that path.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Really contemplate this statement for a moment. The promise of self-esteem present in this Universal truth shared with us through our former first lady isn’t–as Caroline Myss would say–“playground self-esteem.” The kind in which we project a sort of “bullying” self-esteem to let people know they had better not mess with us–“or else.” “No one can make you feel inferior” is remiss without the latter half of the quote: “without your permission.” Stepping into this space of honoring yourself as who you are is about recognizing the inherent ability to CHOOSE as Divinely gifted to each of us.
We can choose whether or not to allow another human being to make us feel “less than”–for in reality that feeling comes from within. Causing that other person to stop what they are doing won’t always produce the result we ultimately seek–an authentic sense of being present to who we are. They could stop their “bullying” and still we may walk away feeling less than. Because it’s a belief that lives within us.
So what to do? How then DO we prevent ourselves from feeling inferior to another? Stop putting yourself down. Begin to see yourself as all that you are–no more and no less than another. Own the fullness of your presence, in all its beauty as well as all its ugliness. Consider this: someone does tell you how much ugliness you carry within, how unkind, judging, selfish or prideful you can be. If you’ve already seen this space within yourself, acknowledged that it can be so (we are ALL human after all)–there’s no power given to that individual for pointing it out to you. You’ve already seen, acknowledged, owned and embraced it as part of yourself. And so–you are able to “hold center”–to maintain the stamina of your soul, your presence, your authentic self–in spite of whatever “they” say or do. For you have looked honestly into the core of who you are, and seen the full picture of yourself. Not as good, not as bad. As YOU.
The same holds true on the side of someone telling us how amazing we or our particular gift or talent is. For so many, that creates a sense of inferiority out of the fear that others will believe us to be better than they are, and so distance themselves from us. It seems so ridiculous, doesn’t it? That we would lessen ourselves to meet another where they are. In each scenario, it’s the same thing holding us in place–our own perceptions, judgments and beliefs. THESE are what make us feel inferior.
Not only is the message to not give your power to another; but take it one step further, encompassing only you: do not diminish your own power. Hold within you the permission–the OWNERSHIP of who you are. See yourself through eyes of loving grace, compassion and dignity. Learn where your integrity lies…and where its absence is clearly shown to you. And step into empowering those places you feel yourself lacking. For as much as no one can truly make you feel inferior–here’s the companion reality–no one can give you the empowerment you seek. Each of these falls to our own self.
How do we connect to self-esteem? Where do we find the answers of what truly inspires us, drives us, draws us closer into the call of our Divine spirit? You know this, my friends….already you know where to look, where to listen for the answers to these questions and all matters of the soul. We have only to be still long enough to receive….to hear…the whispers of the heart…..