Because of my fears and insecurities, I can remember feeling less than for a good part of my life and it was one of the reasons why I liked to drink so much. When I was drunk I could be whoever I wanted to be, and act however I wanted to act, without feeling the way I did when I was sober. This was only a temporary fix, though, and it would take several years of sobriety and a lot of growth before I became more secure and confident in myself.
Becoming more secure and self-confident helped me to stop feeling less than, and as I continued to grow, I would eventually love myself enough to be happy with who I was. But it would be the realization that we’re actually not all equal and that, in fact, some people are better than us that would help me see how much I had grown.
I should probably explain this with a story.
When I was younger I never liked losing at anything, and I actually got mad when I did. Getting angry when I lost at something continued into my adulthood and I hated even losing a simple card game. Much of this stemmed from the fact that I had to believe I was better than someone else to feel good about myself, and although drinking helped me feel that way, the reality was that it also prevented me from growing up emotionally. I basically remained the same fearful and insecure person I was when I started drinking at sixteen. Like many people who begin drinking and taking drugs at a young age it stunted my emotional growth. And even with all the life experiences I had over the years, by the time I finally stopped drinking at the age of thirty-six, I hadn’t matured much emotionally.
This lack of emotional maturity was also responsible for other negative emotions I felt. (Worry, sadness, and even self-pity were a common part of my life.) But make no mistake about it, my fears and insecurities were at the heart of these emotions and, as I said, the reason for feeling less than. However, as I kept growing, so did the love I felt for myself and others, and I eventually no longer needed to be better than someone else.
It was at this point in my sobriety that I knew I had reached a level of growth that I never experienced before, which was quite gratifying for me considering my past, and it made me feel even better about myself.
When we are able to take a look at ourselves with confidence and love for who we are, it no longer bothers us that some people are smarter than we are, more skillful at their jobs than us, or more talented at things like singing, acting, and playing sports. And there are also those who are funnier than us. (Even though I pride myself on being a funny guy, I know people who are funnier than me, and I love it).
Besides the things I just mentioned, certain factors can play a huge role in how equal we are to someone else.
Statistics show that who our parents are and where we’re born have a lot to do with how successful we become, and despite the rich problem child we occasionally hear about being born into a wealthy family with social status certainly gives many people an advantage in life. The trick is to not let others make us feel like we’re less than simply because they have more money or some perceived social status, or even if they have a higher education and a title of some kind. This takes a lot of growth on our part, and we may need help overcoming any fears and insecurities we have, but I know it can be done.
Perhaps death, which I call the great equalizer, is the only thing that truly makes us equal in the end. (Although it should be noted that even in death some people get more attention and have bigger funerals than others.)
But maybe it is in what we call death that we are recreated as spirits or souls and find that there really is something that created life and the universe for a reason, and that this creator loves us all equally.