Overcoming inferiority in life

Published 6:25 pm Thursday, May 30, 2019

By Hal Brady
Owner and operator of a Christian ministry in Decatur

The late Reuel Howe, pastoral counselor, educator and author, tells of a seminar participant named Joe. It seems that Joe participated in a seminar for five straight days and offered absolutely nothing. Again and again, efforts were made to draw him in because he looked lonely and miserable. Finally, Joe said, “I haven’t spoken because I don’t feel that I have anything worth saying. I’d rather listen.”

In the exchange that followed, Joe admitted that he was tired of listening and would like to contribute. But then he added that he felt inferior because of what he regarded as an inadequate education.”

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The cause may be different but the condition is the same. Like Joe, numbers of people are jailed by a low sense of self-esteem. They feel inadequate, inferior and worthless.

So how do we come to love ourselves and overcome our feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and worthlessness? It might not happen overnight, but it can happen.

First, we can love ourselves by remembering that it is God’s assessment of us that counts. An advertisement in a national magazine was sponsored by the Humane Society. Of course, the purpose of the ad was to the interest people in adopting homeless pets. The ad featured a full-page color picture of a puppy and a kitten. As an emotional appeal, it accomplished its goal.

One day an elderly man in a southern town was talking, “I don’t amount to much in this town,” he said. “I have not been what men and women call successful. But I think I do amount to something with God. I can forget what people around here think of me when I remember what God thinks of me.”

Second, we can love ourselves by reclaiming our uniqueness. 

Third, we can love ourselves by choosing something that we can learn and do well. When we realize that there is at least one area in which we are proficient and above average, it will strengthen all our other areas, including our minds.

William James taught that the greatest discovery of his life was that people can alter their lives by altering their attitudes. We can overcome our sense of inadequacy, inferiority and worthlessness.

In closing, I like the story of the lady who met a little boy and asked him his name. He replied, “My name is George Washington.”

“I hope that you grow up to be like George Washington,” the lady stated.

“I cannot help being like George Washington because that is who I am” was the reply. Be somebody. By God’s grace, be somebody. Love God and your neighbor.