Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’ Little did she know what we go through
Consent toh koi poochhta nahi, the world seems just determined to make us feel smaller over things as mundane as the number of Facebook friends we have,’ rued my neighbour Chaddha ji’s daughter, Bansuri, the other day. I sat looking at her with an open mouth. To tell her that being born to a blockhead ding-a-ling as Chaddha ji and then being christened Bansuri, were reasons enough for her to feel inferior, would have been too mean, so I kept quiet. But jokes apart, what Bansuri was trying to play … err … I mean say, was that in today’s show-it-off world, inferiority complex comes as quick ‘n’ easy as instant coffee.
But I still feel that while the opportunities for the world to make us feel inferior may have multiplied, there’s no change necessarily, in our capacity to resolve that we won’t let it. Thoda heavy ho gaya kya? Simply put, Roosevelt is still right. If any of the following give you inferiority complex, you need to sort your own self out.
1. Physical appearance: I mean things that you were born with, and have no control over (don’t even think about dragging surgery into the discussion) — your height, skin colour, balding pattern etc. Someone up there decided your model and make, you didn’t choose it yourself. Why on earth should you then compare yourself with someone who has a taller frame or a different body type? This, however, is not applicable to those whose lifestyle messed up their bodies. So, you my dear, with the jiggly potbelly looking perpetually pregnant, can count yourself out. But the others, please stop comparing and letting it ruin your peace of mind. A classmate who is taller or has a sharper nose has his/her own set of problems in life to deal with. You, too, should deal with yours, and appearance shouldn’t figure. What you can, however, do is to learn about how to look the best with the body you have. Focus, people.
2. Not being ‘classy’ enough: Lo karlo baat. There are many I know who have worked hard to earn what they have, but don’t enjoy and splurge, because they don’t feel confident and ‘classy’ enough to visit posh places. Don’t spend all your life hesitating because your knowledge of English, ability to pronounce fancy terms or even the clothes you wear, are not up-to-the-mark in your eyes. I’d much rather get a complex about not being a good human being than about not knowing if the roasted bread, bruschetta, on the menu is to be pronounced broos-keh-tah or broo-she-ttah and worse yet, not ordering it altogether worrying that the waiter will think I don’t know. The waiter doesn’t care. And if he does, it’s his problem. You have a finger. Point it on the menu, look at the accent-flaunting waiter in the eye and order what you want. You’re paying for it, remember? Where’s the scope for inferiority?
3. What your parents earn: This one I’m pretty sensitive about. It hurts to see a young person feel apologetic, in front of ‘richer’ friends, about the size or location of his/her house or the amount of pocket money parents can afford to give. If your friends are gonna judge you on how much your dad/mom earns or which car they drive, you need to ask yourself if you need such friends at all. And more often, friends actually don’t care. The comparison and the feeling that you’ll be judged, is all in your own head. I know a young man, who spent his entire college life faking a posh address and narrating vacation stories about international destinations he had never been to. Now he’s at a stage where he indeed has a posh address, but has no time to invite friends over … and no happy memories either, because when he did have time, he was too busy keeping friends away from his parents’ humble abode.
If you feel the compelling need to compete with others on materialistic things, please do it on things you have earned in life. Not just you shouldn’t, you have absolutely no right to feel inferior if your parents have less money than you think they should. Go, earn it yourself first.
Sonal Kalra thinks you already knew everything written above. She’s a worthless writer with no new ideas. Oh damn, this inferiority complex.
Mail your calmness tricks at sonal.kalra@ hindustantimes.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/sonalkalra13. Follow on twitter: @sonalkalra On reader feedback, this column is a re-run of the one published on May 28, 2011.