The other day, A friend was telling me about how she handles feelings of inadequacy when they get triggered in her. She was sharing about being in her yoga class with a woman who is further along in her yoga abilities than my friend is.
“I can't stand to look at her during class because she is so much more flexible than I am. Yeah … I start telling myself that I'm no good at yoga – that I'll never be able to do yoga like that … that I'm stupid and inadequate and so might as well just give it up altogether… blah … blah… blah. So … I just refuse to look at her during class. Even though I really like her, I just don't even want to see or make eye contact with her … That way I don't have to feel bad.”
At the time, I merely listened. Since then I've thought about it and here's what I think I might recommend to my friend, if asked:
Next time you find yourself in any sort of similar situation, rather than turn away in an effort to quiet the inner turmoil… turn towards it instead. Face the situation, remembering that your negative feelings are coming from inside you NOT from the outer situation.
I'm not suggesting that you look in order to wallow in the “bad” feelings… but that you look at the situation that is triggering you in order to focus on the underlying story that you're running. Listen carefully for what you are telling yourself that is causing your distress. Once you locate the story, question the beliefs as you watch. “My friends ability in yoga means that I am no good at yoga … is that true?” How do I act when I believe that thought? How do I treat myself … her, when I think that thought? What would be different if I didn't believe that thought?
Use the situation as an opportunity to find the story that is limiting your happiness and question it.
In my friends example … if she were to take the opportunity when it next presents itself, she might find she is running a story that says she is nothing if she is not the best in the class. Or she could be believing that she is not as lovable or valuable …. Her comparison of herself to her classmate keeps her in a limited story that not only keeps her feeling bad but also creates a distance between her and the other person.
These moments of discomfort; jealousy or resentment are really opportunities for further freedom. Use them for that.
May you find peace. Lynne