When I started university, I had no idea what it was that I was signing up for, I knew that making friends wasn’t going to be the easiest of things, thanks to my general anxiety, but also that many of the conversation starters were about sixth form/college and the all damned A-Level examinations.
As a joke I never revealed much about these two awful years of my life, I’d say repressed memories and compare it to the depths of hell, saying that to a person you’ve just met isn’t the best thing to do, since first impressions count and all. Then again, I was never one for small talk.
For the past three years I’ve tried my hardest to reflect back on what happened to me, how did I go from loving my life and excelling in academics to the complete opposite? Most of the answers that I’ve spoken about relate to pressurising environments, unnecessary stressors and just anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. Another thing was my toxic friendship.
And that’s when it hit me, I suffer from an inferiority complex.
The first time I spoke those words out loud, the first time I typed them, and the first time I realised it was all true, scared me. What did this mean? Would I take this to my grave? Would I always perceive myself as inferior?
My whole life I’d heard about superiority complexes, narcissism and individuals with inflated ego’s, we were always taught to avoid becoming like these people. It makes sense, though, who would want to be hated by everyone because of stuck-up and snobbish tendencies?
But who would want to be hated by themselves?
In those years, no matter how hard I tried, I was never good enough, for myself, for others, not even for those close to me. It hurt, putting everyone around me on a pedestal whilst pushing myself further into the ground, it made no sense. My perfectionism skyrocketed as did my anxiety. These are all the things I’ve been running from, avoiding and pretending they didn’t exist. When really, it was still taking its toil on my own mental health.
This is when I stopped running and sat down with all my discomforts, it hurt nearly as much as experiencing them in the first place, but this time, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Here I am entering a new phase of my life where I put myself first and accept myself without comparison to anyone else.
I’m still trying to overcome my inferiority complex, it won’t be easy but at least it’ll be worth it.
To this day, I go through ups and downs, one day isn’t easier than the one before, but neither is it more difficult. I don’t want to showcase myself as just having understanding my emotions and behaviours, because self-awareness doesn’t equal growth alone, it requires practice, months and years of it.
For anyone out there, that may not suffer from an inferiority complex but has perfectionist tendencies or experiences anxiety, I don’t want to paint a picture and say it’ll all end in sunshine and rainbows. Maybe it’ll never go away, but there’s always something, one thing that can make your life easier. I hope that you find it and treasure it.
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