Please do this as an experiential exercise in order to get the most out of it.
Think of a time when you felt inferior. Sit down and imagine looking up at others. Allow the feeling of inferiority to be there now. Notice how it feels in your body. How would you describe it? Notice the degree of unpleasantness there is. Notice how familiar this experience is to you, and whether the familiarity of it has changed over time. We will say that in this experience you are looking upward at others as somehow superior to you, and we will label it as “A”.
Now think of a time when you felt superior. This can include a time you were judgemental or angry. Stand up and imagine looking down at someone. Allow the feeling to be there now. Notice how this experience feels in your body. How would you describe it? Notice if it’s pleasant or unpleasant. Compare the degree of unpleasantness with that of “A”. Of the two, which feels preferable? Notice how familiar this experience is to you. How familiar is it in comparison with the familiarity of “A”? Has the familiarity of it changed over time? We will say that in this experience you are looking downward at others as being somehow inferior to you, and we will label it as “B”.
Now think of a time when you felt equal to another. Imagine being on the same level as someone. Allow the feeling to be there now. Notice how this experience feels in your body. How would you describe it? Is it pleasant or unpleasant? How familiar is this experience? How familiar is it in comparison to “A” and “B”? Has its familiarity changed over time? We will say that in this experience you are looking straight across at another, neither looking upward nor downward, and perceiving yourself as neither inferior nor superior, but rather as equal, and we will label it as “C”.
Did you find that the experience of feeling equal was by far the most pleasant, feeling relaxed, at ease, and “right”? Did you find that “B” was not ideal, but was preferable to “A”? In “B”, people tend to feel big/powerful, and less constricted that in “A”, but it tends to feel uncomfortable or wrong. In “A”, people can feel small, they may feel like hiding, and they may feel tension, constriction or other unpleasant sensations in the body.
Making Sense of & Using Your Experience
Equality (“C”) is based on the truth that we are all of equal worth. That is why it feels so right. When we are not coming from an ego driven place, and therefore equal is available to us, it is always chosen because it is by far the most preferable.
When we are trapped by ego, equality (“C”) is not available to us, and so we must feel either inferior (“A”) or superior (“B”). Can you see how these two are actually flip sides of the same coin? Because “B” feels preferable to “A”, sometimes the insecurity of the ego will unconsciously take us into superiority or judgement, in order to escape inferiority that feels so bad.
So when you witness a bully or an arrogant or critical individual, you can know that it is their insecurity that is driving their “B” behavior.
Also, you can watch your own experience. Celebrate and enjoy it when you are feeling equal. When you notice yourself feeling either inferior or superior, don’t trust it, and don’t stay there, but shift into the truth of equality. If someone’s behavior is inviting you to go into feeling inferior, don’t accept the invitation. Rather see what is happening, know that it is their insecurity driving their behavior, and stay feeling equal. You may even have compassion for them from here. When you are judging others for being judgemental, you have been lured into feeling superior (“B”). Catch yourself and come back into equality, feeling understanding and compassion for those others instead of judgement. Likely, their environment has influenced them. When you judge them, you’re operating from your insecure ego.