What would you rather do:
operate from weakness and remain afraid of disapproval, or
operate from strength and trust your judgment?
Dr. Mitchell Perry
INADEQUATE OR ARROGANT? IT’S A CATCH 22!
DECIDE TO JOIN THE GAP!
Most grown-ups suffer from ongoing feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy.
Often, most of us suffer from any or all of the following thoughts and habits:
– Low self-esteem
– We obsess; we worry
– Take things personally
– Awfulize and catastrophize ad nauseam
– Doubt our judgment and trust more the judgment of others
– Worry continually about what others think
– Crave approval from others
– Want to avoid disapproval
– Consistently operate from weakness and fear
If this sounds familiar, you might find yourself lamenting about the above and wishing that you would STOP thinking and behaving that way.
HOLD ON! WAIT!
Notice what happens in your mind at the thought of changing these habits.
You might ALSO notice that you now remain very concerned that if you trusted your judgment and operated from strength, then you might be acting arrogant.
Notice you now might start worrying that you are in threat of being considered:
– Full of yourself
So now you seem stuck…
– On the one hand, you want to trust your judgment and operate from strength.
– On the other hand, you are concerned that others will think you are arrogant.
IT’S A CATCH 22… A DOUBLE BIND… A DAMNED IF YOU DO / DAMNED IF YOU DON’T. YOU ARE STUCK REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU DO.
YOU HAVE 2 OPTIONS:
EITHER FEEL INADEQUATE OR
RISK THAT OTHERS WILL THINK YOU ARE ARROGANT AND/OR THEY WILL THINK YOU ARE CONCEITED.
Where did all this craziness come from? What can you do about it?
Origins of the Craziness
Most of us remember being told in elementary school – from society, from religion, from parents, from peers, etc. – that we ought to feel bad about ourselves:
– “Who do you think you are?”
– “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
– “You should always think of the other person first.”
– “You are making me angry.”
– “You are disappointing me.”
– “Why can’t you be more like your sister; your brother; them?”
– “You did well here BUT you should work harder there.”
– “You must confess your sins and ask for forgiveness.”
– “How can you treat them that way?”
– “You are making them feel bad.”
– “You should be humble, modest, and self-effacing.”
– “You don’t want to make them feel bad, do you?”
– “You want to fit in, don’t you?”
Note: even if you grew up routinely hearing how wonderful and special you were, notice that you also heard a LOT of the above remarks from many sources, which often made you feel confused. You may have thought to yourself, ‘Let’s see; I must like myself [feel good] as long as I prevent anyone from finding out [feel bad].’
You may have noticed that over the years, you actually played down your great report card, or you discounted your achievements, or you invalidated any compliments from others. OR, you continually thought you were never good enough. Some of you actually gave up before you started. “What’s the point? I’m never going to measure up.” And then some of you actually became over-achievers where you never felt good enough and often felt like an imposter. Either way, you may have noticed that you went into adulthood still hanging onto the feelings of inadequacy in the CATCH 22.
You felt inadequate / insufficient / sub-standard / defective, OR
You played down your adequacies for fear of being considered arrogant.
So the net outcome is REMAIN INADEQUATE OR RISK BEING ARROGANT.
That is insane and also very common!
So what do you do about it?
Consider that you have for years believed that you only have 2 options with regard to how you look at yourself:
Remain inadequate and feel weak and afraid, or
Trust your adequacy and now be afraid that you are arrogant and conceited.
To illustrate, take a look at this diagram that describes your life-long belief –
You have thought there are only 2 options when it comes to a group in which to belong – you can either join the UIP or belong to the COC
(UNION OF INADEQUATE PEOPLE)
The UIP is the UNION OF INADEQUATE PEOPLE.
These people are always feeling inadequate, defective, unworthy, weak, afraid, broken, uneducated, sub-standard, etc.
This group of people also includes a number of sub-unions:
The Union of Martyrs, Masochists, and Members with Hurt Feelings
The Union of Professional Victims
The Union of Malcontents and Narcissists
The Union of Whiners, Complainers, and Catastrophizers
The Union of Chronic Weaklings and the Routinely Mistreated
The Union of Hypochondriacs, Worriers, and Awfulizers
The Union of Liars, Cheats, and Manipulative Low-Life’s
The Union of the Uneducated and Underdeveloped
The Union of the Dependent, Immature, and Entitled
The Union of the Rejected, Bruised, and Submissive
The Union of the Chronically Irresponsible and Lazy
The Union of the Obese, Unhealthy, and Medicating with Food
The Union of the Living Beyond Their Means and Financially Broke
The Union of the Unwilling to Face the Obvious and become Adult
These people often feel better when they affiliate with each other so they can commiserate about feeling bad. They can also criticize anyone who decides to operate from higher standards and who takes responsibility for their destiny.
REMEMBER, THERE IS GREAT GROUP PRESSURE TO MAINTAIN MEMBERSHIP IN THE UNION!
If you decide you want to better yourself, notice how often members of this union will criticize you for thinking too much of yourself. They will often accuse you of betraying them if you improve your conduct and standard of living.
Jealousy and envy are very expensive and powerful.
Imagine the union boss comes over and tells you:
“Hey! Calm down and slow down your pace.
You are making the rest of us look bad!”
(The real message here is that you must remain inadequate in order to fit in.)
The COC is the CANYON OF CONCEIT. (The other option)
Let’s suppose you decide that you are sick of feeling inadequate and you are done with the ongoing pressure to maintain membership in the UIP. So, you decide that you are going to operate more from strength and self-confidence.
WAIT, HANG ON! Now you might be dangerously close to falling into the
CANYON OF CONCEIT! This is where you will have others accuse you of being
- Full of yourself
Or, you might start getting convinced that you actually are that way and you have always been told that you must remain meek, milk, modest, and self-effacing.
So now you are in threat of joining another group that you hate and subject to ongoing criticism from others.
SO NOW YOU ARE IN A DOUBLE BIND, A CATCH 22, A SET UP FOR A LET DOWN.
So you’re stuck… either you stay in the UIP (Union of Inadequate People) and remain defective and unhappy, OR you fall into the COC (Canyon of Conceit) and be subject to ongoing criticism.
Note: You might be interested in knowing that in society, it is very difficult to be truly conceited and stay that way… unless you can afford it. If you have LOTS of money you can construct and buy an environment around you so everyone will keep telling you how wonderful and powerful you are. However, I suspect you seriously lack that kind of cash. Therefore you will remain in the Catch 22.
(UNION OF INADEQUATE PEOPLE) (CANYON OF CONCEIT)
THE SOLUTION AND THE ANTIDOTE
There is certainly something you can do about this.
Here is the solution and the antidote to the DOUBLE BIND.
You can learn to dismiss a lot of the garbage that was handed to you when you were little. Moreover, you can choose to join the third option — JOIN THE GAP!
Now imagine instead of 2 groups in which you can choose to belong…. THERE ARE 3 GROUPS!
- Certainly you can continue in the UIP and enjoy the payoffs to membership:Weakness, envy, meaninglessness, whining, powerlessness, passing life with time instead of passing time with life.
- If you have enough money, you can choose to belong to the COC and convince yourself that you will have enough people around you to help you enjoy delusions of grandeur. “You are the bestest conceited person ever!”
- YOU CAN CHOOSE THE THIRD OPTION – THE “GAP.”
It is literally the GAP between the UIP and the COC.
And it is also an acronym: bigger than a committee and smaller than a union.
Therefore, the GAP is the GUILD OF ADEQUATE PEOPLE.
These are people who freely admit they have some defects and issues. At the same time, they are much more interested in concentrating on what is good, strong, admirable, and valuable about them. They want to continually improve their character, their conduct, their habits, their standards, their self-respect, and their affiliation with other GAP members.
Think of it this way. Imagine Swiss cheese… there is cheese and there are holes. Therefore members of the GAP are much more interested in recognizing and capitalizing on their CHEESE! Everyone in the UIP are much more interested in obsessing about their holes.I_________UIP_________I__________GAP__________I _________COC_________I
GUILD OF ADEQUATE PEOPLE
When you join the GAP, you release yourself from all the group pressure to maintain membership in the UIP. You give yourself permission to feel good, trust your judgment, capitalize on your strengths, and recover quickly from your setbacks.
Your fellow GAP members will welcome you, support you, respect you, and cheer you on.
Certainly, you will get some criticism from the UIP people. Remember, your newfound happiness reminds them of their unhappiness… they want you to remain unhappy so they can have company.
And now consider, which seems more important:
Avoiding disapproval from the malcontents in the UIP
Gaining approval and respect from the GAP folks
Perhaps it is now time for you to think more about reality and common sense.
Life is MORE than 2 options.
Instead, life is much more about MULTIPLE OPTIONS.
Recently, the Pope visited the United States and spoke before Congress.
Here is part of what he said to Congress:
“There is another temptation which we must especially guard against, the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps.”
In other words… Multiple Options!
So instead of maintaining this insane belief that you are stuck in the 2-option
Catch 22 of the UIP or the COC; decide to give yourself permission to choose membership in the third option:
THE GAP – THE GUILD OF ADEQUATE PEOPLE!
You can certainly be free of the emotional prison of inadequacy.
You can also abandon this ridiculous notion that the moment you join the GAP, you are now likely to be considered arrogant, pompous, conceited, and full of yourself.
Now you can be in the GAP, trust your judgment, operate from strength, develop more self-respect, focus on your adequacy, and capitalize on your CHEESE!
When you join the GAP, lives becomes bright, promising, optimistic, and full of common sense… and remember, COMMON SENSE IS VERY UNCOMMON!
So choose membership in the GUILD OF ADEQUATE PEOPLE, and notice how life begins to bloom!