Sometimes You Feel Inadequate

by Madeleine Rex

In case you were unaware of this fact, it’s true.

Sometimes. Occasionally. Every now and then. You feel inadequate.

Goodness knows it’s natural. Ask your neighbor, your coworkers, heck – it’s likely your dog has felt inadequate at some point in time.

I have. She has. They have. We have.

And yet, with this mindbogglingly stressful weight of inadequacy on our shoulders – even worst: the possibility that you will somehow be proven insignificant, unremarkable, horrifically replaceable – we keep trying. We are beaten down by self-doubt and ridicule and imaginary ridicule. I’ve been haunted in my dreams by this ever-present feeling of hopelessness. Every day:

There’s that blog with 200 more followers than I have!

Holy crap, [insert amazingly popular author here] just commented on [insert amazingly lucky blogger here]’s post!


Amidst all this, we must and do find a way to trudge along. I find myself thinking this over. What is it that’s necessary to keep all this insanity from breaching the security of our psyche and polluting us – what keeps us from plunging into the deep, dark, treacherous caves of despair?

It’s the way we digest things.

You can either look at that popular blogger’s follower count and actually, physically cringe, or you can allow that monstrously intimidating number to inspire you. You can process that boiling envy into something useful and powerful.


Instead of indulging hate for that blogger (who probably felt inadequate 20 minutes ago and will in another 45), or that unavoidable and TOTALLY UNHELPFUL feeling we call jealousy, we can recycle our envy and create progress. No more moping and no more watching the computer screen and hitting the refresh button just in case their follower number increases from 821 to 103,728,485 in the next two seconds (not that I’ve ever done that). Give yourself an alternative: Write another gosh darned blog post.

There’s only one way to make change, and that is to move. Consume, digest, and do something with what’s left. Take those feelings of inadequacy and mutilate them until they are feelings of promise, of potential, of if-they-can-do-that-maybe-I-can-too.

We’ve done it before. We wouldn’t have telephones or iPads or microwaves if people had not transformed useless self-doubt into useful motivation. Bill Gates would be living with his parents in an RV somewhere in Colorado if people didn’t have the ability to recycle their emotions.

If you cannot reduce, then at the very least, reuse and recycle.

In ten minutes, when your friend emails to tell you that an agent requested a partial… In twenty minutes, when you stumble upon that singularly popular blog with 103,728,485 followers… Move your curser to the red “X” in the corner, click it, and open a Word document.

9 Commentsto “Sometimes You Feel Inadequate”

  1. I needed a post like this. It seems like I'm constantly catapulting from feeling content to having an inferiority complex the next minute. 😀

  2. "Click the red X and open a Word document." YES! Win right there, Madeleine!
    All of this is true true true. And sometimes it isn't even other people making us feel inadequate. It's ourselves doubting ourselves. Which almost sucks even more.
    But what rocks is when you can be genuinely happy for other writers' successes! Because c'mon, we've got the most kick-buttock writers' community. There's you, for example. 🙂

  3. Really good post! I agree, I think we all feel inadequate at some point or another. There are plenty of things I still want to do with my life, e.g. write the great American sci-fi novel. I want to own a log cabin with a fireplace. I want to visit the Australian Outback, but doubt I'll ever have the money.

    But if I want to do something, I just focus on it, and learn all I can to try to get better. That means lots of studying, lots of getting advice, and lots of practice.

    But yeah, the feeling of inadequacy never goes away. Human beings are hardwired to want to evolve. So I'll keep working toward the best me I can be. 🙂

    And you're so much smarter than any other teenagers I know, and so much smarter than I ever was (or am today), so I know you'll do great things.

  4. This is an inspirational post. I don’t know why but at the moment I’m feeling inadequate myself. For me it’s often difficult to put a reason on why I feel like this, but I do, and I have to say that this post has helped me. Although revising my novel is a much more difficult task than I thought, I did open a word document! I’m planning for what seems like the umpteenth time and still feel a bit inadequate, but thank you for giving me the motivation to do something.

    I thought I’d also add here that I am finding ‘Clockwork Angel’ better the second time around. I looked for too many problems the first time, and yeah, you may have no reason to want to read this at all, but I just thought that I’d say something.

  5. Ok, so I happened to take a minute this morning to read Madeleine's most recent posts. First "I'm Sorry" and now this one. I think we can all agree that mothers probably don't belong in these blog commentaries because all I want to say are things like, "what a cutie pie genius you are" and the rest of the blogosphere probably doesn't find that terrifically informative, except to maybe learn that Maddy's mom is easily distracted by her general cuteness and is a totally unobjective observer :). Ok, so, enough said. Best to all of you out there. May we all take her recycling advice to heart. For me, though, I'll move my cursor to the red "X" in the corner, click it, and open an Excel document.

  6. Perfect!

  7. Yeah, between the sorry and inadequate post… I feel ya. 😉 I think my reasons may be different, but the feelings are the same.

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