I feel like I am stupid or handicapped even though I have a full time union job at 20 years old Would someone have told me by now or are people just not truthful about someone's shortcomings?

Many people, both with and without handicaps or disabilities, often feel "stupid" or not as quick or bright as other people. However, comparing ourselves to other people is rarely accurate. For example, you hold a full-time job. That fact proves you have a level of intelligence and knowledge. Someone else may not be able to do the job/work *you* do, even if the other person was proven to have a higher IQ than you.

Each of us have areas of specialty. Yep, everyday people "specialize" by continually adding to knowledge through experience and effort. You may *think* a college professor is "smarter" than you, but consider this: could that professor do your union job, and do it as well as you do it?

Even people who work in what many people in society *think* are lower level jobs have a talent, a gift, and specific knowledge. For example, I couldn't do the jobs of a cashier, a bus driver, or a heavy-machinery operator. If I tried to work as a cashier in fast food or in a bank, I'd likely give the wrong change (because my talent is not in math) and my cash drawer would not balance every day. I also could not be a scientist or chemist-- or a linguist or translator! I could never speak all those long chemical names, nor do I speak another language very well. If I had to work as a translator, I'd likely make a bunch of countries angry because I'd speak the language badly!

At 20-years old, you will have many opportunities to invent and re-invent yourself. In fact, studies show that by the time people reach 50-60 years old they have often had several different careers. While our grandfathers and great-grandfathers used to stay in just one job their entire lives, now people have to take skills they already have and apply those skills to entirely different jobs. Or, many middle-aged adults end up going back to school to study for a different career than the one they had before.

Being 20-years old and already having a union job says a lot about you and your abilities. Don't let other people put you down and don't feel inferior to other people. Look at your skills, honestly. Write down 5 things that you do in your job that make use of your skills and talents. Realize that every young adult must go through stages in the workplace; even CEOs/heads of companies started off at a lower position. You can work your way up in a job, gain promotions as you gain experience, and work toward your goals.

Try to be gentle with yourself and give yourself well-deserved praise. We all need to become our own "cheerleaders" in life. Don't rely on how others think of you-- or how you think they think of you. As you gain confidence, it will be easier and easier to see that you are not "stupid", that you have worth, and that you have talents and skills that are unique to you.