I have an inferiority complex. Those that know me would never guess that I second guess myself, think others are better than me, or think that I should be better than I am. I have this positive outlook on life and am a fantastic listener, though I don’t often take my own advice, I just spend A LOT of time comparing my faults to the awesomeness of those around me. “I could have said this.” “Why did I say that?” “Why can’t I be better at ____, like _____?” Yet Wednesday I had an eye opening moment that has changed this outlook (hopefully on a more permanent basis).
My husband and I own a karate school. Both of us have trained for about 20 years (he started 3 years before me, so I think it is him=21, me=18). I am testing for my Master’s belt at the end of this month. Tons of pressure I am putting on myself to do better, be better, etc. With him having a few extra years of experience, I often times look to him as more of an expert, even though we are equals.
Wednesday, one of our students, made a comment, a completely innocent comment that has changed the course of my thinking and how I view myself. This dad is about 6’4″ and built like a linebacker. When you look at him, you think “scary dude.” He was a bouncer and a wrestler when he was younger. When you get to know him, he is a big teddy bear, wrestling with the kids, telling jokes, and laughing. But he intimidates me. He intimidates me because he challenges me, he asks me questions that forces me to be better, and I am only 5’2″. But his comment made me feel worthy and respected. I was on my way to a meeting for a local committee I am on. Black Belt Prep class was about to begin (my husband was teaching, and this dad was training). He looks at me and asks if I was teaching tonight. I told him no. He asked if I would be teaching Thursday morning. I responded with “yes, why?” “I like to get different perspectives on what we are doing, and you explain things better. I don’t want to learn from just 1 person.”
Light bulb moment! I thought my only value was teaching kids. They call me the kid whisperer for a reason (that’s another post). Now I know I have value with adults. I just have to let go of my own self-doubt and inferiority complex to embrace the fact that I can teach grown-ups. After all, they are just big kids.