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  • Writer's pictureErika Bugbee, M.A.

How Teens can Find Freedom from the Inadequacy Trap ("Comparison is the Thief of Joy" Part 3)

Updated: Apr 6

Last month my 15-year-old client perfectly described a scenario that I think we all grapple with at some point in our lives:

“I have these moments, whole days sometimes, when I feel amazing and I do amazing. On the (tennis) courts, I’m in the zone, beating players way better than me. When I’m studying I manage my time so easily, I’m totally motivated and disciplined. When I take tests I’m calm and focused. And then it’s gone, and I’m back to overthinking, being avoidant, psyching myself out. I wanna be amazing all the time. Can you fix that?”

Human beings are so fascinating because we’re evolved enough to know that amazing is possible, and that we’re the ones that get in the way of being amazing all the time.

And yet we’re not capable of fully getting ourselves out of the way. Because it doesn’t work like that.

Part of the human condition is that we get in our heads.

We experience life through thought, and we get lost in it.

We over-analyze. We doubt and second-guess. We get distracted by what just happened or what’s about to happen, which takes our attention out of the moment.

The truth is that humans don’t have the capacity to be amazing all the time. It’s not built into the design.

Our psychological and spiritual lives are made up of energy in the form of thought. And energy moves up and down all day.

If something strikes you as funny, you’re amused, and then you move on. You don’t stay in that state.

Our moment-to-moment experience of life is fluid. It moves and changes just like the rest of nature.

Which is good because as this teen described, our thoughts absolutely work against us sometimes. We get distracted or frustrated and lose a game to an opponent that’s worse than us.

And yet moments later, our thoughts work for us. We BS our way through an essay or an assignment and get a better grade than we deserved.

We get lost, then find our way. It’s a system that self-corrects.

So being amazing all the time isn’t on the menu.

And fortunately, that’s not what ultimately matters when it comes to our true quality of life.

It turns out that our happiness, peace of mind and fulfillment in life isn’t tied to how amazing we are at ‘doing’ life.

In fact a little bit of insight into how the whole system works provides instant relief from the pressure to be amazing all the time.

Everyone has the potential to have more feelings of peace and contentment no matter what kind of person they are.

That’s what today’s video is about.

Click below to watch.

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