The early period of youth is the most unsettling period in one’s life. It is the stage where they face countless challenges, suffer with “what if” anxiety and anticipatory anxiety. Questions like “Did they choose the right career path for themselves?”, “Will they be able to find a job?”, etc., find permanent refuge in their minds.
This is also the period of their lives where they are told they can do just about anything, expand their expertise and work tirelessly with buzzing energy.
But here’s the catch. They often don’t know where to start, how to proceed from there and their predicament gets worse if they face problems that stem from low self-esteem and low self-confidence during their early adulthood. It gets to the point where they don’t know what they are doing with their lives, where their life is going.
Then comes the unrelenting pressure to outperform their peers. This is a whole different story because it, later on, translates into them feeling suffocated, inept, insufficient and small in comparison to their colleagues/peers. It begins to seem like they are in a race where everyone has picked up speed and everywhere they see, they find blurred figures zooming past them and leaving them behind.
These feelings start weighing them down. The self-deprecating thoughts that constantly swirl in their minds start acting like hindrances in their growth and then comes the stage where they start questioning themselves.
There is a very thin line between self-questioning and questioning one’s own abilities. Self-questioning means asking yourself questions in a non-judgemental way and introspecting your thoughts and ideas in a manner that doesn’t feel stifling but rather liberating. In contrast, the latter means doubting one’s own abilities and skills, judging and looking at oneself through a harsh and critical lens.
For example, you worked hard for a competition. Tried your best to pass all the rounds. But unfortunately, couldn’t secure a place on the podium. A person can either take it in a positive way or think of it as a failure.
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Introspection can take the form of ” I tried my level best, but it’s fine if I didn’t win. It means there is still scope for improvement. I will eventually get there”. In a judgmental way it looks like “Why didn’t I win? Is it because I am a failure? I can’t do anything”.
The latter is the approach that is most commonly and unintentionally used. If left unchecked, these sombre questions spiral into uncontained anger and resentment towards oneself. Consumed by these emotions, they very often tend to give up.
“I won’t be able to succeed. Everyone around me is so much better than I can ever be.”
” They have got mad skills. Why am I even trying at this point?”
“I can’t….. do this.”
They forget that the people they compare themselves to must have also started their journey from somewhere. With baby steps, they must have first achieved small feats. But this doesn’t mean that it was all rainbows and unicorns after that. Everybody faces challenges in their lives. If they had stopped every time they failed, they wouldn’t have been where they are today.
They took the first step years back, and today it allows them to take pleasure in looking at how far they’ve come and proudly say that they don’t regret it. Nothing takes place overnight. Had it not been for years of hard work, resilience, unwavering willpower and determination to overcome their fears, they wouldn’t have been in a position where people look up to them, where people strive to become like them.
Everybody starts as an amateur. Nobody is born perfect. As we advance into our journey that we start with baby steps, we evolve, our methods evolve, our way of thinking evolves. We gain experiences and we learn new things. And just like that, slowly but surely, we get there.