On Superiority

I was told that writing in all lowercase makes the writing too hard to read. I don’t know how true that is, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to start using normal grammar, so I guess I’ll start writing like a real adult now.

Moving on, I’ve been dwelling a lot on something my dad said last week. I was frustrated about something and venting to my parents. As I ranted about how would never do this, how was better than this, my dad came on the phone and said: “Susan. The moment you start thinking that you are better than other people, everything will start becoming more difficult.”

Usually, when my dad says stuff to me, I’m like “I KNOW,” and try to get him to leave me alone ASAP. But what he said this time really struck a chord with me. Growing up, I enjoyed feeling like I excelled. I let my head balloon up in high school – I thought to myself often that I had everything I could possibly want (except the boyfriend, an ever-elusive concept, and looks, which I’ve never been totally satisfied with). College became a huge reality check as I was surrounded, everywhere I looked, by people who excelled more than me by far. 

To be fair, it’s hard to define “excel” because it’s hard to define “success,” right? Everyone’s idea of success is totally different, although society sometimes insists that qualities like money, fame, or beauty are what make someone successful. But no matter how much I clung to the thought that maybe I was still special in some sort of way, I was humbled during college. Time after time, whether it was through grades, through auditions, through job applications – I was reminded that maybe I wasn’t so special after all.

It’s embarrassing to think about how self-centered I can be, but my dad’s right: the better that I think I am, the more difficult I make life for myself. The situation arises over and over again: career, friendships, events – everything around me can turn into a temptation to compare myself to others. I always say that I hate when people are arrogant and condescending, but what’s the difference between that and what goes on inside my own head?

Nothing, really.

It doesn’t matter if it’s voiced or not; it doesn’t even matter if I’m right or not – the moment that a tiny seed of superiority pops into my head, it all goes downhill. I make myself unhappy; I feel jealous, or wronged, or unsuccessful – all sorts of negative emotions, depending on the situation. The “happiness” I feel from thinking I’m superior is nothing compared to how terrible it feels when that mindset is broken, as it inevitably always will be. As they say, “Pride goeth before the fall” – and honestly, the fall sucks.

Thanks for the lesson, Dad. You still try to give me advice too much – but I’ll admit it, it’s probably worth listening to.

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