Feelings of inferiority stalk many singles--are you among the self-critical?

Inferiority complex was a popular term when I was a teenager. You don't hear it much any more, but the problem still exists.

Nobody is born with high self-esteem. If we're fortunate, we're nurtured by caring parents or relatives, who instill a sense of responsibility and self-worth in us. The ugly reality, however, is that millions of people don't receive this gift.

Elsewhere on this site, I reveal the secret for building self-confidence, but here I'd like to talk a bit about battling inferiority feelings. Like many of the problems discussed on this site, I have years of trial-and-error experience. inferiority

Being 'ordinary' is not inferiority

We've gotten confused, thanks to the mixed messages from the media and advertisers. We think the worst possible state in the world is to be "ordinary." We're all told we can be "special," that we can stand out from the crowd, that we don't have to settle for "second best", whatever that is.

In many respects, most of us are ordinary, however. We have ordinary looks, live in ordinary houses, and have ordinary jobs.

Maybe that's why we idolize celebrities so much. We vicariously live through them, and when they crash and burn, as many of them do, we consider ourselves superior because we're still on an even keel.

Or maybe not. It's just a theory.

What's true, though, is that there's money to be made in making us feel inferior. Heaven forbid if your hair isn't shiny enough, or your teeth aren't white enough, or your mascara clumps, or the worst crime against humanity--you're overweight. It's no coincidence that there are lots of high-priced solutions to all those supposed problems.

In a way, it's sort of pathetic watching people trying to buy their self-esteem. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against attractive clothes, a nice haircut, or even a comfortable home.

But if you have to go into debt to get them, you're being controlled by someone else, and they don't have your best interests at heart.

What I learned about inferiority

Here's the good part, where I share how I slammed my head into a brick wall for years so you don't have to.

Our worst global epidemic is comparisonitis. We spend most of our waking hours comparing ourselves to other people. When you do that much comparing, you're bound to come up short somewhere.

I did that for years until it eventually struck me, "Is life a competition?" Most people firmly believe it is. Competition at work, competition to find a mate, competition to look better, competition to be smarter, constant competition to be #1.

When I run into a tough question like that, I turn to somebody I know I can trust for the answer. Yes, Jesus again, and here's why. First, I believe that Jesus is God, which means he knows everything. Second, I believe he loves me and wants what's best for me. And third, I'm really too thick to figure out this stuff by myself.

After years of thinking about this, I came to realize that I don't have to compete with anybody for Jesus' love. He has plenty to go around for all of us. That means all you need, too. You, like me, are also one of a kind. Unique. In a class by yourself.

The most valuable thing you or I can get is Jesus' love. It's not an impressive car, winning American Idol, getting on the cover of a magazine, living in a mansion, or having an eight-figure stock portfolio. Those things all stay here when you die. The love of Jesus goes with you, even into the next life, and I believe there is a next life. If you don't believe that, you're taking a mighty big chance, friend.

My inferiority feelings began to evaporate when I accepted the love of Jesus. I don't have to compete any more. I'm whole. Good. Solid. Okay. I don't need to feel superior. I'm appreciated and loved just for who I am--and you are too.

No more inferiority feelings when you cut through all the hype and see what's really important. All that other stuff is worthless trash compared to the love of Jesus.

Compete if you like, do it for the fun of it, chug a bottle of Gatorade and kick up your Nikes. Spout a few advertising slogans. Just remember that's not where it's at.

It's Jesus. It always has been and it always will be.

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