Thoughtful Thursday: Inferior

August 5, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

A muggy August welcome to the Intelligentsia, the people who commented on every Thoughtful Thursday post for the month of July.

#10: Elana from Elana’s Musings
#9: A from Are You Kidding Me?
#7: Mel, a.k.a. Lollipop Goldstein, from Stirrup Queens
#5: Rebecca from Northern Grin
#2: Strongblonde from Strong Blonde

Thoughtful ThursdayOur acquaintances the Moneybags family just came to visit. I don’t care what they think, I really don’t, so I was surprised at some of the thoughts I was having.

Before their visit, as I was at the store buying milk: “I wonder what they’d say if they saw that I bought generic milk to save 20 cents?”

Then there’s my car. My tiny little economy car which offers a stark contrast to their luxury SUV which costs 4 times as much. They actually did comment on my car, how small it is to hold a family of four. “Where do you put your stroller?” In the trunk, duh.

I have a beautiful, special house. Everyone says so. Whenever anyone comes over, I try to tidy up (except in the first months after the twins were born, when visitors were lucky to find me wearing anything that wasn’t pajamas). As I went around the house before their visit sprucing up, some of my favorite distinctive articles of furniture and decor seemed small and shabby compared to the opulent objects in the Moneybags’ mansion. Some rooms are hodge-podge based on what came with the house (like curtains) plus our own stuff, but in others, I have made a concerted effort to pull the room together into a cohesive scheme. I quite like it, but it seemed silly in light of the Moneybags’ professional interior designer who orchestrated every single element of their home.

Did I mention that I don’t care what they think?

I don’t go through life feeling inferior to anyone (except for 7 years when it came to childlessness), but something about having super-rich people in my house got to me. It’s probably exacerbated by the fact that money is a big problem for us right now. Mr. Moneybags earns in a day what we earn in a year. He just bought an extra house; we are barely making our mortgage. He buys his kids $1000 toys. I wouldn’t do that even if I could, but it would be nice if buying them a $10 toy weren’t a major decision (or one that usually ends in a No). I’m sure they have their problems, and I would never for a moment change my life for theirs (or my house for theirs, yuck), but their impending arrival made some of the worries that I’ve had lately bubble up to the surface.

When do you find yourself feeling inferior to others? What do you think those feelings say about you?


13 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Inferior”

  1. a Says:

    I am a short, cute woman over 40 years old. My SILs are all tall (well, there is the one who is average height), skinny, tan, and pretty (and 37 and younger). I don’t think it says anything about me that I feel like the seriously ugly duckling when surrounded by them, because I think most people would. I hate that I spend any time comparing my appearance to anyone else, but it doesn’t happen often. It also doesn’t last long, because once they open their mouths, I forget about how they look. I generally have to wander off into my rich mental life…or go hang out with the kids.

  2. emk808 Says:

    First off, I feel so awesome to be at the top of this month’s intelligentsia. Second, my answer:

    I sometimes feel inferior when people start talking about how their kids (the same age or younger than the twins) are doing things that the twins can’t do. I feel like I failed the twins as a parent, and that I should’ve talked to them more or played with them more or something. I don’t know what those feelings say about me…maybe that I’m just afraid of screwing up my kids? 🙂

  3. Rebecca Says:

    Wow, five times, get me!

    I feel inferior to people with children, especially those who are younger than me. I feel like I’ve never achieved anything academically or jobwise, and I can’t even manage to have kids either.

    On the other hand I feel superior to those I’m more intelligent than.

    I don’t like ending a sentence with ‘than’

  4. Yeah, the thing is that we all have our inferiority moments. But would we swap the things that make us feel that way? For example, I often see authors who are just gorgeous and sometimes I start to think, “I wish I was…” But then I interrupt myself with, “Yeah, but would you want to deal with beauty entitlement (which in my opinion holds a lot of women I know back) or having to maintain that beauty? And let’s face it, don’t you like that you’ve come to only value your own opinion of your beauty (which I’ve graded pretty frickin awesome) as opposed to others opinion of it?”

    And then sometimes I feel inferior to authors with more critical accolades or authors with more connections or authors who aren’t awkward. But then I remembered what my friend Debra said when I was a starving artist and jealous b/c my younger sister had her life together.

    She said, “Yeah, but then you’d have to be your sister.” And that’s always the catch. There is no one I’d rather be than myself. No writer I’d rather write like. No wife I’d rather wife life. No other mother I’d rather mother like.

    So yeah, sometimes I feel inferior for like a minute or two, then it kind of passes and I’m happy being me again. But oh man, did it take a lot of work to get to just happy being me.

    Still, I know that it’s difficult dealing with haves to your have-nots. I think I would feel a little weird, too, if someone big league came into our house. But you’re big league to someone else I’m sure and m/b they’ve felt the same way about you. M/b this occasional inferiority complex is a reminder to self to… well I’m not sure. But it feels significant somehow.

  5. Ana Says:

    I’ve noticed over time that my inferiority/jealousy/comparisons to others really sum up my current underlying issues. In other words, I don’t think you REALLY care what the Moneybags think, but that the thoughts in your head are bubbling to the surface now because of the money problems you stated. And of course it would be nice not to worry about those things.
    You don’t think they are “better” than you, nor do you want to “be” them, but you DO want those money issues to disappear….

    Who do I feel inferior to at this time: right now its career related. People that are my age or YOUNGER (yikes) that have been more productive and independent than I have managed to be.

    Sadly, I still feel inferior to mothers that managed to breastfeed, especially for what I consider a long time (a year…I did exclusive breast milk from pumping for 4 months). Whenever I see my friends popping out their boob to nourish their child, and I have to break out the laboratory-concocted powder…
    I know this is because I still worry about the benefits he is not getting.

  6. WiseGuy Says:

    Oooh lady, you a therapist? Coz I might just mumble out things I don’t like to admit as such.

    When do you find yourself feeling inferior to others? What do you think those feelings say about you?

    OK, if you promise to not hold it against me, many of my maternal cousins(and my real bro)are settled in developed nations. Some of them now even hold foreign nationalities. I, on the other hand, am settled in my good old mother country. I have zero issues about living here, but some of my furreign-based SILs, actually talk about things like I a stupid cavewoman would not know. Sample this:

    ‘And yeah, C is taking ballet lessons and plays soccer in her spare time. Uh, soccer is American football’.

    The last line was added because I obviously don’t know what soccer is (duh right!). I am offered to come visit my folks out there, and frankly it makes me feel like I got left behind. Plus the lovely gentleman I am married to would never want to leave his country…so these other folks could have made a good choice about where I get married. Who I got hitched to was not my choice. And now I keep getting told to persuade him to take a trip to their LaBigerica.

    What do you think it tells you about me, Dr?

  7. jill Says:

    Ack. I always feel inferior. I think the feelings say I have low self esteem.

    It’s something I really need to work on. Reading blogs actually helps me to realize that everyone has their own issues – reading about others’ lives helps put my mind back on that level playing field.

  8. Ah, what a question to come back to the Intelligentsia after a two-month break…!

    I feel inferior when I have the feeling other people know more about something than I do (usually in a social setting, I don’t have this problem when I’m at the doctor’s office or something). My hubby can make me feel that way quite often – he has that effect on more people, at least in my family.

    I know it has to do with low self-esteem, because I know usually those people I might feel inferior too are not necessarily more intelligent than I am. But I always want to be 100% sure that whatever I’m saying is true/correct, while others don’t care and just tell a good story.

  9. strongblonde Says:

    i’ve given this some thought. i think i mostly feel inferior related to intelligence. interesting since i have a phd. i guess i have always felt like an imposter or something. not really sure what it says about me though. perhaps it requires even more thought…

  10. Cat Says:

    I feel inferior when people talk about their college experience since I didn’t go to college. I feel inferior when I see pictures of myself with others because it’s a reminder of how much heavier I am now than I used to me – when I look in the mirror I still see myself thinner. I felt inferior last month at book club in the beautiful, pulled together home of the hostess. It made me wonder if visitors to my home see it as “decorated” or that it just has stuff in each room that kind of match.

    I don’t know what all that says about me. I could have gone to college anytime, but hesitate to spend all the time and money when I don’t have anything in particular I’d want to major in/do with my life. I could eat better and exercise, and I did for a while and lost 15 pounds, but I’d rather not.

  11. Like Jill, I pretty much always feel inferior. I definitely struggle with self esteem issues.

    At the same time, a lot of friends who seemingly had their lives and finances together (which made me feel inferior for years and years) have been hit hard by job losses and the housing market. So, while a few friends are losing their houses to foreclosure and no longer in super high paying jobs, I’m now a stay at home mom and we are looking to buy a bigger house. We are by no means well off, but smart choices and hard work have put DH and I in a stable position financially.

    I have a friend that I have known since grade school. We have both had weight struggles over the years, and for a while we were roommates and were the same size and could share clothes. Now, she has lost probably 20 pounds, and I have gained about 20 pounds and we are in far different places size wise, which makes me feel inferior. She has a shopping addiction and has all of these fabulous clothes too, which doesn’t help. At the same time, I have a husband, a home, and an adorable baby, while she is divorced, childless and rapidly approaching 40. Would I trade places? Never.

  12. Mel Says:

    Yes, because of decisions we’ve made (ones I’m happy we made), we don’t have the same flow of money as our friends. It is hard being the one person who can’t spring for dinner and drinks out. We have a tiny house. But I also remind myself that I wouldn’t want their life. They all work out of the house full time and don’t get to be there for the day-to-day with their kids, which is what I wanted. So I feel bad until I remember that.

  13. coffeegrl Says:

    Hmmm. I don’t often feel inferior to others – it’s not that I think I’m superior, but that we’re all so completely different as individuals that it’s like comparing apples and oranges. I think where I’m most likely to feel inferior right now is in the mothering category. For instance, “Why can’t I get my toddler to do [fill in the blank] as quickly and easily as she can get her kid to that?” I usually explain to myself that these comparisons are silly since each kid eats/sleeps/plays differently and while *her* kid may be really cooperative about picking up her toys and staying seated during dinner, mine is good at sharing and putting on her own shoes. Still…that doesn’t always make it better. And I find myself wishing that I was better at managing a toddler and infant, something that I feel I’m struggling with – not all the time, but darn it some people make it look effortless! I think I have inferiority issues with this because I’m currently a SAHM, something I didn’t foresee in my future, not for the duration I’ll likely be doing it. It feels like I got hired for a job I was unprepared for and in the past, I always excelled at work, but this is something I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve nailed. Even on good days I feel like we’re just getting by; it’s hard for me to feel a quantitative or qualitative assessment that says I’m excelling. argh.

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