I’ve been told by my managers that I need to speak up, that I need to be more vocal at these meetings. I try , I honestly do , but at that pivotal moment in time during the meetings, I find I have nothing to say. Or I have something to say but am frightened for some reason.
Imagine that you are walking on a tightrope, careful not to tip over. You don’t look down, you walk straight. You’re doing well, trying really hard. You might make it.
You’re halfway through by now, and you know you got this.
But then the wind blows, the sun shines, it starts to rain, hell it even snows. You lose your balance, and fall. All the way down.
When I started my first job, reality hit me like a ton of bricks. It seemed to me that all of a sudden, I was having to fight for things that so far had been taken for granted.
My boss never had any time for me. In fact, it seemed that hardly anyone could afford to say hi to me.
Very few of my seniors registered my presence, let alone attempted to speak to me. I was lonely in the new environment, and it ate away at me inside, leaving me to wonder why I felt so hollow.
I was trying hard to learn more and more at my job, struggling to be recognized, working day and night, hoping, just hoping someone would acknowledge me.
But it never happened.
I started to feel inadequate and out of sorts at the workplace. I didn’t realize then, how terribly self doubt was affecting me. I was struggling to find my place in the world, loathing my position in life and feeling like a mismatched piece in an otherwise perfect puzzle.
The tug of war between my emotions and day to day life was a close and intense battle.
My despair reached it’s breaking point when my boss finally said I was going to get fired next week. He said my dismal performance, despite all my efforts were insufficient.
I was numb. All those tears and nights spent questioning my self worth had eventually led to me losing my job.
The realization that I was better off without this particular job came to me later that day. I was going to get kicked out, but in hindsight it was probably a good thing because I was too scared to resign.
It’s remarkable, how our own psych can help build or break us. I relaxed and let myself breathe for the first time in weeks. I was no longer worried about deadlines or insecure about work assigned to me. It was obvious now, that the higher management clearly believed I was incapable of completing my tasks.
I don’t know what came over me, but that week, the one I thought was going to be my last, was the happiest I’d been in months.
It’s funny how things changed for me when I started to believe that there was an end to my sufferings. I gave my best at work that week, without putting any pressure on myself. Because really, what was the point of it all anymore?
Surprisingly, this approach worked.
I didn’t get fired at the end of the week. Or the week after that. Confused, I went to ask my bosses what was wrong. To my utter surprise they praised me and said they’d like me to stay.
I’ve written in every feedback form ever requested of me, that companies really need to devote more time to motivate employees. Instead of tearing them apart because of their limitations they need to spend a significant part of the meeting acknowledging their efforts.
An unappreciated person can not perform well, and neither can an organization that encourages concentrating only on one’s flaws.
We need to be sympathatic, kind and professional at the same time. It is not impossible to take a moment to appreciate someone’s hard work, while being assertive about the changes expected.
Let us not push someone into feeling terrible about themselves. Instead let us strive to be more acknowledging and understanding of others.
Loneliness is not always avoidable. We all have days where socializing is difficult for us. Sometimes we feel safer encased in our solitude and sometimes, we just feel…alone.
Sometimes we have no choice but to be alone. Perhaps its the weekend and you have no one to spend it with, perhaps you are too shy in a new environment, feeling friendless after a fight, or seeking solitude after a setback. We all have to go though times when we feel like we don’t belong at a particular place.
The feeling of being isolated and solitary in the big wide world is unpleasant. No matter how independent we like to be, sometimes these thoughts creep up on us and leave us feeling inadequate.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
You hear that?
It’s got a steady beat, a rhythm only you can feel, a reassuring thunder in your chest when everything else is uncertain. The sound crashes through the silence while the pulse keeps us alive.
Everyone has it, but not everyone listens and acknowledges it. You are alive, your heart is pumping you with not just blood, but with the promise of life and possibilities. With every beat, you need to know and believe that you are not on your own. Every cell in your body treats you as the center of their world. They exist simply because you do, and will follow you everywhere. Your mind and body are with you, ready to do your bidding, whenever you want them to.
So hold on to everything you are. You are your own team and captain. When circumstances require you to do things on your own, trust in yourself and know that you can handle it. You can, because you are complete in yourself.
It’s nice to have company, but it’s okay even if you always don’t.
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There are many things in this world that can cause us pain, but the worst of them all are the ones we inflict on ourselves.
It hurts infinitely more to tell yourself that you are unworthy, than to have someone else say it to your face. You can always prove others wrong, it will even give you a sense of satisfaction, but to prove yourself wrong? That is a different ball game altogether. But, thankfully, it is not a game you have to play.
Have you ever looked at a successful person and felt inadequate about yourself? I have many a times, found myself in awe of people, many of whom are younger than me. Thinking about my peers, who have already achieved their dreams, makes me wonder if I will ever be able to do the same.
A doubt starts to grow in my mind and the lingering notion that I will never realize my true potential arises. It keeps me from sleeping at night and makes me feel horribly insecure.
“I could have been that.”
“If only I’d done that five years ago, I might have been at a better place today.”
“Maybe I chose a wrong path.”
“Perhaps this is the best I can do with my abilities.”
“I’ll never be as good as them.”
and the worst of the lot:
“I need to transform myself to be more like them.”
Thoughts race through my head, making my own mind a haunted house. I cannot escape, and I cannot move on. I started to feel as though I was walking around with a dark haze over my head.
I stopped doing all the things that were quintessentially me and tried to embrace hobbies and lifestyles of the people I admired. It should have made me happy, it should have propelled me towards fulfilling my goals. But none of that happened.
Instead, I got pretty depressed for a while, stuck in a bubble of self loathing and insecurities about my destiny.
I was at an emotional low, but I agreed to meet a long time friend for lunch. She was very upset about the way her life had turned out. After listening to her, I found that my problems were minuscule compared to her own. Even though she was crying, she was strong because she was not hiding her emotions.
“Don’t give up. Life will get better, I promise. It may not be great right now, but it can definitely be in the future.” I said reassuringly, squeezing her hand.
My friend smiled at me and said surprisingly, “You always inspire me so much. Don’t change, okay?”
“I–I inspire you? I didn’t realize I could do that for anyone.” I blurted out, forgetting about the dark cloud over my head.
“Of course you do. No matter what, you are always yourself. I really like that.” she said with a laugh. “I think being happy in your own skin is wonderful. Even when everything around you sucks, at least when you look into a mirror, you’ll see something awesome.”
I went home that day with a spring in my steps. My friend was right.
I was all I had.
No one could possibly understand me the way I fathom myself. I would have to be my own ally, cheerleader and hero. It was unnecessary to compare my life to others and I didn’t need to mimic the people I admire. Instead, I decided that I will be my own hero, doing things my way.
I will not give up on my dreams, just because I haven’t achieved them at the same time as my peers.
As the saying goes:
Don’t compare yourself with anyone, whether they be better or worse off than you.
However, it is a good idea to do a comparison with your own self. Ask yourself:
Have I improved since last time?
Am I working hard enough to reach my goals?
Do I feel good about myself?
If yes, congratulations! If not, what are we lacking?
Analyze your progress and be truthful to yourself. There is no way your dream will evade you as long as you work towards it. Keep the faith, and keep smiling.
Lets not change who we are, but how we deal with comparisons.
Thanks for reading! Have a great day ahead. 🙂
Have you also discovered that being soft spoken has more drawbacks than benefits?
The absence of a loud confident voice, and irregular participation in conversations makes for being labelled (no matter how incorrectly) —a person with little strength of character.
I have always been a quiet person, one who has several things to share, but is too shy to do so. It takes a while for me to open up around people I don’t know well. Like most introverts, I am preoccupied with my own thoughts and seldom feel left out even if I am not asked for my opinion. I am observant and highly imaginative, content in my own world.
But a few months ago, some of my classmates were planning a picnic.
“So it’s set then, the whole class will go on the twenty fifth.” said an extroverted young woman. “Everyone has agreed to pitch in a fifty dollars.”
Alerted, I joined the conversation, “I haven’t agreed. My team has a presentation on the twenty-fifth.”
The lady looked at me as though she didn’t even know I existed. And we’ve been seeing each other every day for three years now.
Well at least I had seen her.
“What?” she said looking flabbergasted. “Oh. I just assumed you would agree, you know, you never really say much anyway.”
I was stumped for words. Was I such an unimportant person that my views didn’t matter? I believed I was as much a part of my class as my other classmates.
I shook my head. “The 25th does not work for me.” I said.
“Fine, we can change the date. I’ll check with the others, is the twenty sixth okay?” she asked checking her notepad.
“Yes. That would be great, thanks.” I said smiling.
“Cool.” she said smiling. “I’ll let you know.”
I sighed with relief, thinking to myself…”Well that wasn’t so hard.”
I have to prove that I am worth my salt before people take me seriously. I realized then, that being comfortable in one’s own skin is not enough. You have to be able to assert that comfort in your public behaviour, in order to garner interest towards yourself.
Don’t get me wrong—-I love solitude and enjoy having time to myself…but it is often viewed as being antisocial. How can I explain to people that I would rather enjoy the peace and quiet of my room than the din at the party upstairs? Socializing is rather difficult when you don’t know how.
Have you ever paid the price for being extra polite?
Let’s take a scenario: (this actually happened to a friend of mine, before we met)
“So the four of us can go shopping for the party, and the three of you can decide on the party games. Only one thing left, we don’t have anyone to take out the trash and tidy up afterwords.” says a bossy person, who has no qualms about fairness or sounding impolite. This person looks at the introvert in the group who is usually obliging and says “Oh you can do that much can’t you? Considering we’re all doing everything else.”
News flash : The job assigned to the referred person sucks. They don’t get to be where all the action is and they get to work on something that few people will acknowledge. People get pushed around a lot if their personality’s are not intimidating enough.
Let us change that. We do not want to be ignored just because we are good listeners, or be sidestepped for being too polite. We don’t want to viewed as a pushover, because we feel it easier not to engage in verbal sparring. So how do we do this?
It sounds simple: Speak up when necessary. Speak clearly, gesture confidently, talk about what is important to you.
Your chest will tighten when all eyes fall on you, but when you speak your mind, you’ll feel it swell with pride. Once you’ve put your point across during a discussion, and are satisfied with your contribution, you are free to embrace your quieter, shyer side.
But this little participation will help shrug off the image of you not having an opinion. It is very important that introverts don’t move away from society and hide within their shells. They are the most astute observers in the world and their insights are valuable to everyone. So let’s give each other a fair chance, and let us not judge others quite so easily.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with my post 🙂
Have a great day!