“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady. I imagine you’ve heard that quote before? Perhaps if you find yourself toeing the line between your 20’s and your 30’s like I presently am, then it also reminds you of a classic Disney film, Princess Diaries?!? They just don’t make them like they used to, do they?
I’ve loved this quote since the moment I first heard it. In fact, in particularly challenging times in my own life, I find myself returning to it like one returns to their favorite oversized, worn in sweatshirt on a crisp fall morning. Similarly, this quote, gives me comfort. And it sets me straight when I’ve perhaps veered off course and failed to remember the importance of the sentiment above.
The truth is, we’ve all been there. We’ve allowed others opinions to cloud our own self-assessment and self-worth. Sadly, this is never more prevalent than in those formidable years of our lives when we’re developing into young adults, lacking not only in life experience but often in self-confidence as well. We look to others to define what’s ‘cool,’ what’s ‘fun,’ what’s ‘stupid’ or ‘lame.’ It’s far too easy to lose ourselves, the unique qualities that innately set us apart, and become defined by group thought or sentiment.
For me this manifested most predominantly in my early 20’s - crazy how I can say that like it was a lifetime ago - when I was starting out in my career after college. Up until recently actually I‘ve put too much ownership in my job’s ability to define my worth. To tell me whether or not I’ve accomplished enough up to this point, if I’ve lived up to expectations set by myself or others.
It’s very easy for me to get consumed by the comparison monster. After 7+ years in the corporate world, I look to my left and I look to my right and I think ‘why aren’t I there yet?’ ‘Am I not good enough or capable enough of that role?’ ‘What’s wrong with ME??’ Or, the most detrimental but perhaps the one that rings loudest in my head ‘What have I even done in 7 years?!’
Now you see why I return to the quote above - ‘no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’ Listening to those pesky little voices in my head as well as from the influence of the outside world is allowing them to infiltrate my orbit and possess the power to make me feel less than. However, as I step into the last 10 or so months of my 20s, I finally feel like I am claiming my own power and most importantly understanding environments where it is and perhaps is not celebrated and recognized. I am stepping away from people and environments who fight like hell to bring me down, to dull my shine, to keep me from blossoming into the incredible person I know I’m capable of becoming who will undoubtedly leave a lasting legacy on this Earth. It’s time I started fighting like hell for ME - and reminding others that they cannot nor will not make this girl feel inferior…