What To Do When You’re Simply ‘Not Good Enough’

Feeling not good enough

You’re not ‘good enough’. They all have better choices, those people on the other side of the table. Better, more able candidates to fit into the job role you were aspiring for, the project you were hoping to land, the man you were crushing on.

Some of the refusals are kind. We want different things, they say. You will get other opportunities that will fit you better. I don’t think of you like that even though you’re an incredibly special person. Others are brutal. They say things to your face, going off hand-in-hand with new friends, ghosting your e-mails, expressing without an ounce of doubt that you are not worth your salt.

What can you do when you’re just not good enough?

Lately, I have been going through frequent periods of self-doubt when I question every ability I have ever prided myself in having. When someone compliments me, I wonder if they need a favour. Even when I hear good things without any apparent undercurrent, I find myself feeling like an impostor. Someone they think does a decent job only because they haven’t seen better — yet. Someone who successfully fools you into believing grand things about themselves when all of that is, in reality, only an illusion.

The world is getting harsher by the minute. It is harder still if you haven’t a protective shield of family and friends, people who believe in you and ward off fatal apprehensions. During periods of self-doubt, every achievement of the past seems meaningless, every dream about the future bleak.

I hate feeling like that.

This is why I have devised a three-step plan to shake off the cool, suffocating fingers of underconfidence and insecurity.

Here’s what I do.

  1. Think about lives I have touched in the past

My mom, who was the happiest when she went on strolls with me, to whom nothing in the world mattered more than the fact that I was happy. My husband, R, who never tires of doing little things to see me smile, who says I am his angel. Perhaps a reader somewhere in the world who once read something I had written and smiled, if only for a moment.

Even when all else seems lost, there are people all of us have touched at least briefly. No one is inconsequential.

  1. Scrape through the lies of my mind

I have experienced enough mental turmoil in my time to know this for certain: the mind can be a big fat liar. What’s worse is, the mind can also be very convincing when it’s lying. To wade through the mess, I sit myself down and reassess my strengths. What have I achieved so far? What progress have I made since I started trying? What is the validation I have received for my efforts? What am I basing my self-doubt on – is it a silly comparison with a colleague or peer based on his/her social media post? (That is one insanely misleading basis!) Deep within, have I really failed to take even a single step toward my goal?

More often than not, the mind gives way after the introspection, realizing its lies cannot hold water in front of the genuineness of the heart.

  1. Endeavour to become good enough for me

This is my favourite step. To be good enough for myself, I need to get enough sleep and rest. I need to eat wholesome, filling, delicious food. I need to do things that make me happy even if they don’t seem remotely connected to my life’s personal or professional ambitions. I like myself when I am happy, energetic and confident. So, I proceed to steer things that way without aiming to also be good enough for a million other people alongside.

There will always be people wiser than we are, more accomplished, better at what they do. But life isn’t about sharpening all your edges until you please everyone on the block. And really, if someone thinks you aren’t good enough for them, they don’t deserve you. Let them find what they seek while you seek your own happiness.

*Picture from rebloggy.com

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In a Coffee Shop, Writing

Writing in a cafe

I used to think the I-write-in-a-café generation was just high on caffeine. People went on and on about the tranquility of coffee shops, how easily their thoughts flowed, how the steaming hot coffee went down their systems, washing away anxieties and unleashing their creative energy. What a load of hogwash.

All this, until I started trying it out myself. Continue reading

I’m Going Back to Malory Towers

I recently discovered this captivating blog by Meenakshi, on an afternoon when some train of thought led me to a Google search for Darrell Rivers. The Head Girl of Malory Towers, my favourite boarding school of all time lovingly built by Enid Blyton. Meenakshi wrote beautifully from Gwendoline’s perspective, one of the (un)popular girls in the school, and her writing had me completely hooked.

Where have those innocent, carefree days gone when acing it in a subject, becoming School Captain, and catching your crush’s eye was the most joyful prospect of life? In our rush to grow up – or maybe we didn’t have enough choice – so many early pleasures of life have been strewn along the way, never to be reclaimed. Continue reading

Ministry Shares Tips To Cope With Depression, and I’m Fuming

In my professional capacity as Editor, I have worked with a fair number of writers: in-house, freelancers, agencies. I have fought over word counts, especially with the last two on that list. Some writers send in desperately forced 500-word-pieces to meet their targets; at least 200 words are mere fluff. In the health and wellness space, there are two “fluff” pointers that I’ve seen many writers champion.

  1. Get enough sleep
  2. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits

Ah, the miracles of rest and fresh produce. There isn’t much that they cannot cure, it seems, from stomach problems and skin conditions to quarrels with your husband and coming to terms with the loss of your pet.

Thanks to recent communication from the Indian Ministry of Health, I’ve discovered yet another superpower these two goodies have: curing depression.

Yes!

Here’s how it works: If you are depressed or going through a “period of low mood”, don’t fret. Don’t listen to all those know-it-alls who recommend you talk to a loved one or a therapist. Don’t give it any more importance than you would to a sad evening when you’re upset because you ran out of cookies.

All you need to do is sleep for eight hours and eat fruits.

Check out, if you haven’t already, this insightful poster the Ministry recently shared on its Twitter handle.

Continue reading

Rain & Me: Old Friends Who Have Fallen Apart

Rain

There was a time, many moons ago, when I used to love the monsoon. My heart skipped a beat when it rained and my MP3 player hummed monsoonal tunes. I’d sit by the window as the rain washed the dust off my garden plants and watch everything enliven. I’d ask Granny to make onion pakoras, dip them in ketchup, and munch them with great delight.

Years have now passed since that time. Continue reading

Trust Me, This Little Habit is Truly Life-Changing

It’s unlike me to propagate life-changing advice. I usually turn up my nose at anyone who does, for come on, everyone has a life that is diametrically different from yours, unique in a manner unknowable by a generic life-coach.

But then, I am not a life-coach. I am only someone who has recently picked up a habit and is all aglow with its miraculous power.

Here it is: Continue reading

My Saturday Discovery: A Jar of Joy

It was Saturday evening – the kind of beautiful when Sunday evening’s pit-of-doom feeling is far, far away. Why, there was glorious Saturday night to live, followed by the Sunday morning quiet and drinking coffee while listening to the wind. (For me, the pit-of-doom usually sets in after 6 p.m. on Sundays.)

“Let’s have an ice-cream,” I said to R.

“Can we also have cheesecake?”

R is fixated upon cheesecakes lately, ever since we got back from Vienna. He has fallen so head over heels in love with cheesecake that even chicken has started feeling envious.

“Okay, let’s go out and explore our options.”

What is marriage if not a little bit of me, a little bit of you, I reasoned. On Saturday evenings, I am all zen-like. Nothing can touch me. I am as pleased as a hummingbird who has discovered a tree-full of fruits and is chirping away like a deranged creature.

We saw ice-cream parlours. We saw bakeries with cheesecake. We saw hipster ice-cream parlours that sold cheese-flavoured softies.

And then we found this.

Frozen Bottle

This delightful, decadent jar of ice-cream, cake and fresh mango all whipped up together. This slice of bliss hiding in Lane No. 6 of Koregaon Park though I hear they have more branches across Pune. It’s deliciousness come alive in a jar.

I have always loved experimenting with food and eateries. While some experiments succeed, others fail majestically. The latter tempt R to stick to a safety net when we eat out and give me curious glances as I make my order. But Saturday evenings like these? They reinforce R’s faith in me and my choices. Good for you, you cute-little-mango-icecream-cake thingamajig!

My Sleep(y) Resolution

Tomorrow, I will wake up before the sun.

I will make myself a cup of steaming, fragrant coffee and drink it sitting on the balcony, listening to the early risers among the birds. I will let my mind fill with beautiful thoughts about the dawn clouds, a little blue, a little white, just like human existence. I will have a whole hour or two to myself before I need to delve into the sweaty, rushed world of making breakfast, getting ready for work, and hoping I could instead lounge in my armchair, reading the eager book sitting on my bedside table. Continue reading