It’s In the Way That You Use It

Last night, I wrote an article about the Impostor Syndrome.  I wrote about the feeling of not being good enough and the inability to give yourself credit or accept credit from others.  I received two very interesting comments from this article.  The first comment was from a former manager of mine who told me that I was the greatest employee a company could have (in fact, I was actually just a contractor) and that I was a wonderful person and friend.  Those words made me feel very good about myself even though I didn’t totally accept them.  I feel like I could have been a better friend but that’s a typical reaction from me.

The other comment was from another friend who I met in Certified Peer Specialist training.  She said that my article was well written even though it hit a little too close to home. And that is exactly why I write.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned through my involvement with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network is that I am not special.  I am not different.  I am not the only one who is nervous before going to a meeting where I know none of the attendees.  I am not the only one who worries about getting to work on time.  I am not the only one who feels inferior around other people.  I am not the only one who is afraid to fail.  The world is full of people who think like me.  What makes people different is how they deal with these thoughts and feelings.

Staying in one place is safe.  Being stuck by fear of failure is comfortable.  Although you may want to change and try something different, there is a risk of looking bad, doing something stupid, failing.  The only way to get unstuck is to try, to learn something new, to change the way you think, to overcome the fear.

Actually,  I think a feeling of inferiority can be a good thing.  It keeps me humble, sensitive, concerned about doing things the right way, and involving others when I need support.  If I felt superior, I think I would exclude others, force people to do things my way, and be arrogant. I like my way better.

I am reminded of an Eric Clapton song called It’s In the Way That You Use It, which goes like this:

It’s in the way that you use it,
It comes and it goes.
It’s in the way that you use it,
Boy don’t you know.

The choice is yours, and mine.  We can sit alone and wallow in the sadness and fear of inferiority.  Or we can choose to use our power to overcome our fears and live full and productive lives.  I know there are some things I want to do and the fear of failure is in the way.  But I also know that I have accomplished so much in the past few years that I have been kicking my fear’s ass.  And I’m going to keep kicking, boy don’t you know.

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