Why do I often feel like other people are better than me?

Do you often find yourself in situations where you feel that you’re not good enough, even in your most intimate relationships? Logically it might not make sense, but somehow you can’t get away from the feeling that the person you’re with is better than you.  No matter how hard you try to appear relaxed, you feel slightly uneasy or on edge.  If you pause and pay attention to your body for a minute, you might notice that something seems awry – perhaps you feel slightly tense, or you may have that familiar feeling of butterflies in your stomach.   You might find yourself saying things you regret or equally frustrated by the things you couldn’t bring yourself to say?

Transactional Analysis suggests that we live our lives according to unconscious life scripts and life positions that we adopt at a young age that go on to inform our understanding of ourselves, other people and the world around us. 

As young children we form our life script or worldview based upon our interactions with other people, particularly our primary caregivers.  Often struggling to make sense of our thoughts, feelings and behaviours, our life script becomes our best attempt to self-soothe or to survive during times of relational stress or rupture, when our needs aren’t met.

Our life scripts are also modelled to us and reinforced by our primary care givers as we grow up, both through behaviour, suggestions, comparisons, and language.  As a young child, you might have interpreted a parent’s words well done for being brave as I mustn’t cry when I feel sad if I want my parents to love me, for example.

A self-fulfilling prophecy

As we grow older, we continue living out our scripts, out of our awareness. They are like a self-fulfilling prophecy because we filter our experiences through our life script and dismiss perspectives or opinions that do not line up with our preconceived notions of ourselves and others.  This can keep us stuck in fixed patterns of behaviour in relationships and can prevent us from being spontaneous, open minded and making rational choices that might suit us better.

Next time you find yourself in a situation where you notice that you’re looking to please another person or telling yourself that you’ve messed up again, it’s worth challenging your thoughts.   It may be because you’re unconsciously comparing yourself, reinforcing an unconscious belief that it suits you to be ‘one down’ in a relationship because you’re not good enough.

By becoming aware of our life script, how it came to pass and how it affects us now, we can make decisions to change the parts that no longer suit us or are unhealthy in some way.  We can avoid engaging with people who harm us, so that we can focus on building relationships that are fulfilling and we can be ourselves and realise our full potential.

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