"Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be?
One of my favorite characters growing up in New York was Reverend Ike. He was the pastor of a large church in Harlem whose sermons were centered around the teaching that people had a divine right to have a good opinion of themselves, a message that was very important and gratefully received by the people in Harlem and elsewhere, including myself. One of the members of his congregation was Wally Amos of the Famous Amos cookies. He was a walking demonstration of Rev. Ike's philosophy.
Anyone who, for one reason or another, grows up to feel inferior, has a great burden to unload. I once heard a man say that he humiliates his son to teach him humility. I said that you don't teach him humility by humiliating him, you teach him humiliation. There's a big difference.
Sometimes the inferiority complex begins at home. It did with me. The old saying "Children should be seen and not heard." has caused a lot of damage to kids over the years. If I expressed a thought or opinion about something I was usually immediately ridiculed or told to be quiet. It did me some damage and caused some unsavory reactionary behavior when I got older.
I have seen that same damage in other youngsters, some of which I have written about before. Folks grow up thinking they aren't smart enough, strong enough, tall enough, talented enough or good looking enough.
One day I was in a group of about 20 people. It was a social gathering. One of the people there was a young teenage girl who was dressed in an unusual and slightly provocative manner. The woman in charge took it upon herself to start criticizing this girl and asking her why she dressed that way. The girl replied "Because I want to." The woman kept asking her questions and the girl kept replying in the same way with more or less the same words. Each time the girl answered the woman in question got more and more sarcastic with her. People were laughing at the girl and she was getting angry.
Finally one of the men in the room said "Wait a minute. The reason she keeps repeating herself is because you didn't hear her the first time." He then said that she was too young to have the words and the power to adequately express herself and that it should be taken into consideration instead of putting her down for it and the woman should be quiet and start listening. Then he said to the girl "Young lady, you dress anyway you want and any way that makes you feel comfortable. There is nothing wrong with the way you look." I applauded him and so did a few other people. After that the bitch left her alone, no wiser I'm sure, but at least off the subject.
Is there a moral? Yes. Reverend Ike knew what it was. Don't let anyone tell you you aren't brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. Because you are. And don't tell that to yourself whatever you do, you hear me?
DB - The Vagabond