To understand my place in the world, I often rely on whether or not I’m doing what everyone else is doing, if I am following the rules prescribed to me, or I let others tell me what to do. My perceived sense of worth is created through the opinions and wants of other people, so when I see others attempting the things that I wish to attempt, I automatically compare myself to them, and often find myself in an inferior position to them. My perception of myself, while constantly being stacked against my perceptions of others, constantly suffers. Due to my constant comparing myself to others, my confidence in my abilities is extremely low, and I can’t even trust the people who compliment me or believe in me, because I assume that they must be lying to me. Because I constantly compare myself to others, I am always striving to be better, but I never reach my desired ability, because I will always see myself as less capable than others.
It all began with my brother. He is a brilliant individual who went to college to study neurobiology, a subject I have absolutely no understanding of, and he was employed very quickly after college. In addition, although he is socially awkward and sullen most of the time, he recently married his girlfriend of eight years, a wonderful, intelligent, and beautiful woman. Of course, all those things are wonderful, and I’m very happy for the two of them, but it does put me in an awkward position. I see my brother succeeding in such an impressive way, and I can’t help but feel inadequate in comparison, because I feel that I am not nearly as intelligent as him, and I have not had nearly the same success in romantic relationships as he has. Being five years younger than him, he has always set me very visible benchmarks that I could conceivably reach, but I have been failing many of those benchmarks for several years now. I know that I am my own person, and to hold myself to the standard of my brother is ridiculous, but I can’t help but wonder why I haven’t achieved similar successes in my endeavors.
Because I see myself in terms of other people’s success, I am constantly striving to prove myself to others. My inferiority complex manifests itself into a need to be better than everyone else, to prove to others and myself that I am not as inferior as I am afraid that I am. My constant need to be good enough leads me to put others down, and to view everything as a competition, even if nobody else sees it that way. In order to find myself, I need to stop myself to others, but I know no other way to create a standard by which to live by.