Be it career angst, relationship stress or financially-based anxiety, many of us have moments where we feel like we’re falling behind in life. We berate ourselves for not having ‘the’ job, house or family that some of our peers might have already clocked up.
“It’s easy to feel behind in life – especially if you do not take control of what your mind tunes into,” says Eryka Stanton, the founder of Empowered Living and Academy of Soul Empowerment.
Feelings of inadequacy are especially prone to popping up at this time of year, when we tend to reflect on what we did (and didn’t) achieve during the previous 12 months. But instead of diving head-first down a rabbit hole of negativity, Eryka, also a spirit coach, urges us to “celebrate and salute the year that was by honouring your path and then creating a plan on how to improve things in the future.” Ready? Let’s get started.
Let fear be your motivator
“The voice that is whispering that you’re not where you should be can either be constructive or destructive,” explains Eryka, who penned the book The Spiritual Gangsta’s Guide To Growth. “It can either work as a motivator or a saboteur; for or against you.”
Crucially, it’s important to establish the difference between divine dissatisfaction and destructive dissatisfaction. Divine dissatisfaction is your soul trying to alert you to the fact that you’re not living up to your full potential and can be a great motivator, whereas destructive dissatisfaction is fuelled by irrational fear and “will destroy your self-esteem and leave you dispirited,” says Eryka.
Stop fighting for approval
What is fuelling your feelings of inadequacy?
“In this new age of abundance, the fight for survival has mutated into a fight for approval,” says Eryka. “I encourage people to ask themselves: what or who is the benchmark of success?”
The answer to this question holds the key to why people often feel perpetually dissatisfied or inadequate in life, says Eryka.
“More often than not, the barometer of success is usually strongly linked to our false imagination of what will make us feel more loved, worthy and accepted. We unconsciously allow the world to impress upon us a false idea of who we should be, [what we] should do, should have, and this triggers a destructive cycle of self-defeating thoughts.”
Enough with the constant comparisons
“If you find yourself often comparing yourself to others, it is a sign that you need to value your own unique divine nature. Comparison is the quickest path to self-sabotage and acceptance of our unique individuality is the key to true joy,” says Eryka. “In my opinion, negative comparison in particular is a toxic tendency that personifies fear, greed, envy. Habitually comparing yourself to others is a significant act of violence to your self-esteem. It is a self-abusive act that diminishes your personal power and worth.”
Appreciate your own journey
As our minds are wired for survival and not satisfaction, we will automatically collect information that supports our underlying belief that we are inadequate in some way, explains Eryka. In order to challenge the belief that we’re not where we should be, we have to learn to harness the mind.
“The truth is that there will always seemingly be people ahead of us in the game of life, but we rarely take a moment to consider the opposite is also true,” says Eryka. “We are so busy comparing ourselves to those blazing ahead that we miss the opportunity to celebrate and feel deep appreciation for where we are in our own journey in the present.”
Contentment is the new currency
“Gratitude cultivates contentment and contentment is the new currency. It is deep appreciation for our moment-to-moment existence that really allows us to experience joy,” says Eryka. “Is it not joy we are all seeking after all? The antidote for destructive dissatisfaction is consistent celebration and gratitude for where you are now. Being too future-focused or overly concerned about how others perceive you, however, is the contaminant of the soul.”
Celebrate your achievements
Finally, celebrate what you have achieved this year before creating a plan on how to improve things in the future, says Eryka. 2017 is all about you.
“Do not allow your mind to solely focus on what you didn’t achieve, what didn’t work. Do not let pessimism creep in and steel your soul’s roar,” says Eryka. “Balance that lopsided perception out by consciously looking out for all the things you gained, created, achieved and learnt. Identify your wins and assess what you can do in future to succeed in areas you didn’t. Give yourself permission to celebrate yourself!”