School Talk 31 - Feelings of Inferiority
Looking for life patterns in self
How people act with sense of inferiority
Exercise in looking for justification of inferiority
(Audience participation in parenthesis)
So today let's talk about feelings of inferiority. They are a very common set of feelings that about everybody in the world has, so I think that we could all possibly profit from discussing inferior feelings a little bit.
Now as far as I'm concerned, nobody's inferior, nobody's superior - we're all different; but because I've told people a lot of times, if I found somebody walking down the street and their feet were four feet above the ground, their head was about six feet, I'd think maybe they were superior; but I haven't found that one. All are walking with their feet on the ground; but we don't walk in the same tracks, so we all do different things. We're all a wee bit different, thank goodness; but I can't see anybody being inferior. That doesn't change the fact about 99% of the people in the world have a sense of inferiority--a feeling of inferiority in one form or another.
Now there are many ways that people have taken this on without information as to how to deal with it. Some act superior and look down their noses at everybody else so that they can constantly find fault--that proves I'm not so inferior. After all, I can see what's wrong with you, and I can see what's wrong with you, and I can see what's wrong with you; so I must not be so inferior. Some people attempt to hide. They become very bashful and reticent and stay out of sight as much as possible. Some try to do all sorts of things to prove to themselves they're not inferior.
A kid in school may knock himself out to get A's at all times in classes when really he can get the same diploma for getting C's. But anyway he's trying to prove to himself that he's not inferior. Some people buy flashy homes, cars, clothes--whatever the case may be--in many cases trying to prove that they're not inferior. They are attracting a lot of attention. Some people attempt to have certain kinds of prestige or be seen with the "right people." I know people who really can't function at all, but they play a continual game with themselves that they are "very big wheels dealing with the biggest people". They pretend to own the place wherever they may work. So there's all these little mechanisms people have to try to cover it up. The main person they try to hide their "feelings of inferiority" from is themselves.
Now I feel that probably we could look at it easier if we're going to say we're inferior because of the type of work we do or the place we live or etc. Probably the first thing we could start off with is to say sure I'm inferior, I'm inferior to the man who flies the airplane when I travel. I don't know how to fly the airplane, but I do a thing or two he doesn't know how to do.
So we're different, but I would say "Yes" I'm inferior to that person when it comes to airplane flying. I'm definitely inferior to him, OK? I may be inferior to somebody with weight lifting - I definitely am, because I'm not going to lift it unless I definitely have to; and he's doing it for the fun of it. Maybe I'm inferior to the man with the ability to run or to play music or ten thousand other things.
So once I admit that I'm inferior, there's not much has to be done about it then, is that right? I'm just inferior to about anybody around; but I don't have to do anything about it. So once we can see that, we have a feeling; and that I don't mind having it, OK? Then the feeling begins to die right then and there.
It's only when we're trying to resist it. Now if we played the hermit game and went off and hid so we wouldn't be around people, and they couldn't see how inferior we were---that wouldn't get it over with either. It's just, sure I'm inferior. I can't do a million things. I couldn't cut hair like Regina. So what? It doesn't matter to me. I really haven't lost any sleep over not being able to cut hair. I haven't lost any sleep over not being able to fly any of these big jets that goes overhead every little bit. It just doesn't matter to me. I'd rather go back and sit down in a seat and read a book or go to sleep until I get to the next town; and he can't do that. He's got to stay awake to, at least, see that the autopilot is on. And so I get the better end of that deal. So we go ahead with it. So I want to feel quite free to feel inferior.
Now once you're free to, you don't have to fight it anymore. Now when you don't have to fight, and have struggle, conflict and resistance with anything, it ceases to count. But the other thing is, we begin to see how the behavior of so many people around us, at many times may seem uncouth or annoying or a whole bunch of other things-and it's very well if we could recognize that the person that is behaving in the manner to which is not pleasant to us--usually is only fighting a feeling of inferiority one way or another.
Sometimes the person tries to play the big shot--the super authority. Well most of us don't really like those folks; but if you realize what the person's doing, you can have nothing but COMPASSION FOR THEM. I've tried to find ways to put those people at ease.
Now the greatest number of people I have to put at ease are people with intense feelings of inferiority. Once they feel at ease, they turn out to be pretty nice people to have around you because they don't have to go through this horrible strain they've been trying to cover up, (what they think everybody sees)-that they're inferior. They have accepted the suggestion within of the idea that they are inferior, and now they have to go through all this turmoil.
Now some of them have "smart ass" answers for everything. Some of them are big show offs. Some are trying to be "authorities". Just ask them anything, they got the answer for you--right now. They know all about it, whether they ever saw the thing before or not; and if you want to ask one of them on the street for directions, he's liable to have you over in West Phoenix when you're trying to get to Apache Junction. But he'd never say "I don't know", and that's for sure.
So it gives us a decided sense of understanding for other people that we work with, live with, or are associated with, and do business with, or go in a restaurant where they are. A decided liberation comes to us when we can understand that many people we meet (that has what we would call character faults) are merely trying to cover up a big old sense of inferiority - which is, as far as I'm concerned, a false feeling. We've looked at false feelings on the vicious cycle, and we kind of know what they can do to you; and, therefore, what they're doing it to that person.
Many of the reactions that we have been talking about, "that we refuse to react to other people's reactions", is a person reacting to try and cover up (in some way or other - to handle unconsciously) - their sense of inferiority.
If we all took a look see that we all started out feeling inferior for the simple reason as we were born babies. Now babies are at a decided disadvantage when they came into this world because about the only way they can survive is yell every now and then. They can't do things they want to; and as they are growing up and get so they can walk or toddle about a little bit, they can't reach things. If they do reach something, somebody says don't. And so pretty soon they feel that they are very inferior. Now they're not inferior, they're just babies; but nevertheless, we all got that sense of inferiority simple because I couldn't reach up on top of this table at one time. OK? I couldn't turn on the various and sundry appliances. I must not touch things - I will get hurt, etc. which all says you're very inferior.
So everybody starts off with the sense of inferiority to some degree. Now of course, certain ways that certain individuals grow up, decidedly accentuates the feelings of inferiority.
There's another struggle that goes on in the mind that the not "I's" produce a good jolt with about this sense of inferiority and that is they explain "why you're so unfortunate". If you're inferior, you're bound to be unfortunate, right? So one person says "I didn't get the proper education." One says "I had an unhappy childhood." One says "I grew up in a house full of women, and they run things." And another one says "I grew up; and because I was a girl, I was put down". This goes on and on as to our explanations as to "why we feel inferior"; and why we have to spend so much energy every day of the world trying to get over that sense of inferiority.
Oh I've had people tell it, "Well, my folks were first generation immigrants." Did you ever hear that one? "I came from a poor family." "My father was an alcoholic." "My mother was a hooker." You know, you can go on and on and on with this to try to explain "why I am unfortunate". Did you ever find that? Did you ever hear it? Did you ever find yourself doing it? It's giving you a reason "why" you're unfortunate".
Now you're not inferior. You finally covered that up; but you then see it as you're unfortunate--and you're a victim, and it can come up with about anything.
I have a very dear friend who has about four professional degrees: but he feels very inferior. He says the reason is that he didn't get to go to the proper schools. Now any accredited school, I think is proper; but nevertheless, some, of course, has more prestige because it costs more to go there--and he didn't get to go to those; but his professional life is curtailed because he didn't go to the proper school.
I practiced the healing art for about 30 years - almost that. I quit a little bit early - about six months; and in all the years that I practiced, I never hung a diploma on the wall-and nobody asked me if I had one. Nobody ever asked me where I went to school except one. One guy came in one time and asked me where I went to school; and I said my Dad sent me to a veterinary school; but I didn't like animals, so I got over on this side. He didn't pursue that any longer, and we went on with our business. But that was the only person who asked me where I went to school in almost 30 years, and I had a very large practice - saw gobs of people. I never had a diploma on the wall to say I went here, there, or elsewhere. Nobody even asked me if I had one. You know they could care less. Somebody told them I was fairly good or they wouldn't have come.. They went by what the neighbor*s said--not what the piece of paper on the wall said. So I had the piece of paper, and I just didn't see any reason to go spend money to buy a frame to hang it up. I put a pretty picture up there instead because I think the only person who would have ever looked at it would have been me,, and I knew what it said--so I just wasn't interested. But you see, that it's so easy to find an excuse to justify your feelings of inferiority.
Now you know, we can try to justify it. We didn't feel inferior just because we were born as infants, is that right? Now it had to be due to this reason or that reason. I grew up in a poor family. I was an orphan. My father was an alcoholic. My mother was a something else; and I didn't have any friends, and I had a very unhappy childhood and on and on and on.
Now I suppose everybody had an unhappy childhood. I think it's pretty crappy to be a baby anyway--especially if they got more than one child around the house. We all had to start there, but we can drop saying - "Well I got that sense of inferiority from there"-it's just an attempt to justify the sense of inferiority. I suppose that we do like we did the other day when we were talking about suggestion.
Exercise in looking for justification for feeling inferior
We begin to look at "What I use to justify my sense of inferiority". First we said a while ago that the whole sense of inferiority is in error in the first place - you're not--you're different. You're different from everybody else in the world. You're even different from what you were six months ago. You're different from what you were five years ago. You're different than you were 20 years ago, and so on. So you're really like nobody in the world, but what really tangles us up with the feelings of inferiority is not so much the sense of inferiority as our "justification for the sense of inferiority". That which puts us in a double bind and no way out. So let's each begin to think about what is the justification I use for feeling inferior. OK?
Richard, I'll start with you. What's your justification for feeling inferior?
(Oh I had a neurotic mother would be a good one.)
Good, join the crowd. Anybody in here had a neurotic mother? Huh? I had one too. Go ahead, bless her soul, she was very neurotic at times - I think even to the next step which they call psychotic; but it's all right, we lived far out in the country so she didn't disturb anybody but me. So that's your justification for having a sense of inferiority, you had a neurotic mother? What else? Surely that's not a good enough justification to go along for some 40 years feeling inferior.
(It's not, I try to change that, that's for sure.)
Let's see what else. What's some of your other justifications for feeling inferior?
(Well, maybe not enough education.)
Didn't go to the proper schools--didn't get enough education; so you have to feel inferior. You can make a lot of money, but you didn't have the technical skills to keep it. Have you got a bunch of justifications for feeling inferior? Well, first you aren't inferior and all--you're justifications are haywire; so see if we can do a little work on getting rid of any justifications for feeling inferior. If depending on having a neurotic mother was a justification to feeling inferior, I would be in a horrible mess.
(Until you got away.)
That didn't help any, that didn't help a bit. I had neurotic relatives from there on, so what's the difference? So what difference does it make what your mother was, you know? If she was neurotic, that was her problem--poor soul-- so she probably didn't enjoy her life very much or still doesn't. You said she's still living. Is she still neurotic?
Oh, still interfering with your well being, huh?
(Not as much.)
Not as much, ok? How about totally eliminating it; and no justifications-whatsoever--to feeling inferior. I'm perfectly free to feel inferior to certain occupations and stuff. I can't paint a pretty picture, I can't play music, I can't fly a jet airplane. There's a whole bunch of things I can't do, but I get along ok. So I don't have to have that; and there certainly is no justification to continue to have it, is that right?
Can you put that one aside?
(I can buy that)
If you get along without any sense of inferiority, you might be surprised what you can do. You have a fantastic ability; and it didn't come from how much education you had--nobody got educated how to make money. Did you know that? I know many PhD.'s in economics and business management that if you take them out to lunch, you got to buy it--and their coffee too. If you just go to coffee with them, they'll out-fumble you. You know those? Mary, you ever feel inferior anymore. You got that whipped?
(Well, I don't.)
You don't, what's your justification? Did you have a neurotic mother?
What's you justification for feeling inferior?
(Well, Bob I hate to be different, but I don't feel that way.)
Well good, you're not inferior anymore.
(I don't know.)
I said, I think you got over that one.
What's your justification? Your mother is not super neurotic, I know her. She's pretty nice lady.
(I think mine was picked up more from someone else…)
(An inconvenience and a nuisance because I was born and……..)
You're an inconvenience and a nuisance.
(Also when I did get within the reach of something, I was told I can't have it or I don't need it.)
Or if you got it, it wouldn't be good for you.
(And I'm still there in my mind..)
It's still your justification because somebody gave you a bunch of bum suggestions about it, is that about right?
Do you think that is a reason to continue that way, or do you think it's time to set those down where you can live without the feeling of inferiority?
(I think I've carried it around long enough.)
Long enough, the nearest wastepaper basket would be a fairly decent place to put it down. You're throwing it out right now, you're not inferior - you're different from other people…
But you're not inferior, and you don't have any justification going around feeling inferior, is that all right? OK? Ben how about you?
(Well I think one thing I've been looking at lately is "not feeling that great", so I don't have to do things.)
You don't, so then you got a good justification until you feel good.
And you never feel good. OK …
(It has a lot to do with it.)
I expect it does, your justification is you feel inferior because you got a puny body, is that right?
(I can't see good, so I can't drive.)
And I don't feel good, so I can't concentrate; and I can't work, and I've been puny all my life; and so I'm just a poor unfortunate little soul so I'm inferior when it comes out here to doing things--It's because I was unfortunate.)
So now can you set the justification down?
OK, cause the justification is the biggest force that keeps inferiority going. You know we all did grow up. We can reach the top of the table, and we can start the car. We can turn the lights on, and we can do this, and we can do that' but we still have this "one". So we have a justification for it--so now we can put the justifications down?
(Well Bob I'm doing them anyway, but that still hangs on.)
Well, I know, you say "it's there" and so if I don't do well, it's because …. You got a justification to feel inferior so let's throw the justification away.
You got any justification there, Miss Regina?
(Well, that I'm from a divorced family.)
(And it wasn't a very wealthy family)
Just barely got by?
(Just barely got by.)
And that's all they wanted too, because back then it was the "hippie idea" that if you had any extra, you were cheating somebody else out of it.
(Also, if you did wear nice things or wear make-up or anything, then you were phony.)
Phony - showing off. You were really showing off.
(You weren't natural anymore.)
You weren't natural - you weren't ever supposed to use deodorant. You got to smell natural--let the hair grow on you legs and what-have-you, is that right?
And so you grew up with that unfortunate bunch of stuff--and you poor thing. You couldn't do well except in Alaska, and they didn't know any better up there--you know, those "scoundrels". But when you get down here, why you're inferior, is that right?
Huh? So can you set that justification down, because what your family did has nothing to do with WHAT YOU'RE DOING. You know you don't live with them anymore. You barely know them anymore, is that right?
And they don't know what you're doing or where you are--hardly. So do you have to say that they set your upper limits?
(Not any more.)
OK, you can dump that one now. If they didn't want only the bare essentials and so forth, that's their business--God bless them for it; but if you want everything in the world--God bless you for that, too. The fact that you eat good tonight didn't make some poor soul in India starve any quicker, OK? And if you wear a pretty dress; and you look beautiful--that doesn't deprive some poor soul in Singapore, ok--or anywhere else in the world. Can you see that? But, you see, the whole idea back a few years ago with a bunch of people who wanted to straighten out the whole world--make it over--was that if I was driving down the road in a car by myself, I was wasting and keeping five other people from riding? OK? You don't have to buy that, do you?
OK, we had a question sent to us from last week; and we're going to try to justify using today's talk a little bit because I think it was a very, very appropriate question. A gentleman asked how you could tell what kind of suggestion "one had believed in" or had "accepted as being absolutely true", and how could you go about looking for it to find out what one of those suggestions was inside.
Looking for patterns
Certainly one would look at one's state of activity, one's state of being, and how one is living. What is the type of activity? Let's say it was a person who had repeatedly accumulated a considerable amount of funds from some kind of business activity and then had repeatedly had lost it - let it all go flying away so that no longer did they have the funds to show for it. They get it, but it just went away. Would you think that there would be some way the person could begin to look at what they're doing and looking at that situation; and could they decide pretty well what or where to look for the original decision that had been made--based upon some suggestion? It probably could be one that was somewhere within the category of one I heard many times when I was real young. Somebody would be talking about a person who had made quite a bit of money; and in order to justify their not having it, said, "Well, he may get it, but let's see if he can keep it?" - which pretty well determined "in effect" saying, "It will "blow away." And so that would be one sort of place to be looking for where suggestion might come from. Another one is "well, anybody can make it, but it's the smart man to keep it." So there would be some suggestions that would be enough to begin to remind the person of something that sounded very familiar within themselves. They could begin to look at that familiar saying; and work on it so that they could pretty accurately relate as to where to look, and what kind of suggestions that "they had accepted" that was resulting in this continual cycle. Now we do know that most people that haven't studied quite extensively and used the teaching material are living in a pattern. Now the pattern repeats itself every year-in and year-out, year-in and year-out.
I know one dear lady that married five alcoholic men in a row. She married one and got all the difficulty that goes with that routine for about four or five years. She divorced him. She married another one--he died in an alcoholic ward about four years later. She kept on marrying them and divorcing or whatever; but her pattern was to continually choose a man who was an alcoholic. She swore that she never knew one of them even had a drink--much less be an alcoholic. Somewhere she got a pattern going. After having worked with that lady, she finally "came up" that she had a very basic decision from an early suggestion from her mother (and some other members of the family) that she was not fit to have a nice husband - something she had done as a kid. She said she continually heard them say that there was no way she could ever expect a fine man for a husband--It just was just impossible. Now she had said all these long years that she didn't know these men were alcoholics. After she looked at it, she said "Sure I knew they were all alcoholics--anybody would know an alcoholic; but I didn't let myself accept it because I knew I wasn't fit to have a real fine man as a husband. I was even lucky to get an alcoholic." So this is the damage that can occur from some of these kinds of suggestions and "accepting those" can carry on with, and of the big suggestions we have is that we have a justification for being inferior. So let's work on that in the next few days and see what comes.
We thank you all for today.