Article written for Volume 3, Issue 1 of ‘Luminous Wisdom: Sophia’ (a Sibella Publications magazine).
Arriving at the vet with the family cat recently, I asked the receptionist if I could book our cat in for his monthly arthritis injection. Since I had been given permission to administer these injections myself as a people nurse, she asked, laughing with surprise, if the cat had sacked me. In response I informed her I had sacked myself. I shared how I had been unable to secure the cat while injecting, resulting in the needle shooting out of my hand when he jumped, then flying through the air and landing, needle buckled into an orange in the fruit bowl. We laughed. It was a great story.
Yet the laughter masked a wee sense of inadequacy. Surely after years as a nurse I could have managed such a simple task. This encouraged thought about the story of inadequacy and how many of us struggle with it in our daily lives.
Where did I learn to feel not enough? Inadequacy is a social outcome that is deeply ingrained and difficult to shift.
Feeling inadequate or not capable has consequences and they are never good ones. I began to weigh up the items on my list of inadequacies. I wondered how many of us humans could actually be fearing life. Fearing the day ahead. Living in fear in fact.
In listening to the world around us, we hear many casual comments suggesting feelings of inadequacy when people start their sentences with all manner of apologetic fearful remarks and clichés. On the other side of the coin, we try to bluff our way through the societal expectations and our fears leak out the side in bursts of embarrassment and shame. It seems that feeling inadequate is the norm. I began to examine whether I am in reality an inadequate person and thought about my many roles in life including mother, friend, student, teacher, healer, and writer. It was easy to see my errors and misunderstandings but did that make me less or incapable of living a healthy, caring, enjoyable, comfortable and satisfying life?
For the most part I live with love to the best of my ability. Most of us do. We are learning all the time. My positive, loving outcomes far outweigh my lesser results by a huge margin. Those occasional sadder aftermaths that come along require a gentle hand to overcome and not the label of failure. We are often very harsh with ourselves. We really are enough.
Although none of us are perfect, we are still perfect as we are. There must be room for growth with the opportunity for change. As for skill sets, these are learnt actions through practice and choice regarding that practice. All in all, I do not really want to be the one who injects my cat. I would rather be his friend and not his vet. With this decision made, there is no room for inadequacy. I have simply discerned what is right for me. Judgement is out and discernment is in!