When we feel "inadequate"


I am sure we all know this kind of experience... we are talking or seeing someone who is more intelligent/knowledgable/outspoken about something... and we being to shrink and feel inadequate or not "enough" in some way. It may be in the realm of sports or politics, music or the arts. The subject doesn't matter. What feels bad is how it impacts us and the meanings that flow on from that. It used to happen to me all the time. Some leap happened from being ignorant (I mean that in a non judgemental way, just the simple fact of not knowing) to me feeling like a failure/idiot/stupid. It happened with politics, with current affairs, with sports. The feeling inside was so bad that I actively avoided those conversations, steering away from them or just changing subject or leaving entirely!
On my recent training in Nature work, I also hit this again and again; I didn't know the names of plants, what direction I was facing in, what bird had which song (and you don't have to know these things to be connected to nature by the way! - that is a topic for another time) I bumped up against my own ignorance and it felt... well bad in some way, but then I learnt to acknowledge the part of me that felt like it was wrong when it doesn't know things... and I kept it company and then I soon noticed, it was ok not to know!

And, who is it in me that says I need to be knowledgable about everything? It was as if any lack of knowledge meant I was lacking in some way - how crazy is that expectation!

It seems to me that we are expected to have an opinion about everything these days, and to know what we feel and think about any issue... maybe more so as a man (most men just love to know stuff about things and we bluff it all the time if we don't) There is something about knowing that makes us feel ok and safe perhaps. And more personally for me, that feeling of inadequacy was rooted in a disconnection from my dad, with whom I desperately wanted connection to, but as a child and teen didn't know much about what he loved to talk about (sports and politics)... and I somehow made it "my lack" rather than what it truly was - a distance through circumstance and propensity and a whole bunch of conditioning... I blamed myself, or you could say, that meaning emerged in our relationship.

Once I made friends with the parts of me that did not want to know (and why that was so bad), I soon began to feel easier just asking questions and expressing my curiosity. I began saying, "I know nothing about this, can you tell me about..." And more often than not I relish being a learner and a student.

So maybe if you notice that going on in you - this sticking together of not knowing = inI hope you will discover that it really is ok to not know something!
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