THE FEAR OF JUDGEMENT

I can’t tell you from where I derive my confidence. I am a person who is lost more often than not. So what I can tell you is about my lack of confidence. I am human and to err is human. But when you lack faith in yourself, every action you take, every decision you make, every road you chose will lead you to believe that you have erred.

That is what happens with me each and every time. I don’t have trust in my decisions, and there are a lot of things that cloud my mind and tell me “NO, don’t go there, you won’t be able to do that”. I have fear; I have a fear of being a disappointment to all I love, to all who look up to me or who expect things from me. When I begin to think that I will not live up to their standards, I lose confidence.

I wanted to be a writer but had no self-belief. A very special person made me believe I can do it. He made me realise that what I write is beautiful. And I wrote and wrote to make him happy. He used to read every chapter of mine and tell me it is so good. It is crafted beautifully. And my morale boosted with his words and kept writing despite all my schedules and troubles. But then he got busy with some new developments in his life, and I could not get his constant feedback. Slowly I stopped writing; I found excuses not to do it. I kept my dream of being a writer aside because I wasn’t certain that what I penned is worthy enough.

And then he came back and told me “Your work isn’t supposed to impress me. Your work is meant to impress you. When you think that what you have written is worthy of your reading, that you are enjoying to read your work, know that it is good enough.” These simple words of his made me realise that what makes us dwell into self-doubt, fear and hesitation is the fact that we are trying to make others happy. We need to know that our efforts and our work, first and foremost needs to make us happy, feel satisfied.

When we feel that we have done something that was worthy of our respect and appreciation, then we begin to have faith in our actions. That is where my confidence lies. I have stopped fearing failure now. As I now know, that if it has made me happy to do it, it will make others appreciate it as well. My own opinion is my biggest judge and critic, and that is what gives me my strength.

So next time when you look in the mirror and like what you see, know that people will love it.When you find your cooking tasty, other will find it delicious, when you are happy with the decision you made, others will accept it with open hearts. Don’t let the fear of judgement, suffocate your faith on yourself.

Stay Proud !

MY MULTIPLE SOURCES OF CONFIDENCE

As I was out for my morning walk I saw a little girl trying to learn how to ride a bicycle. I could see that she was struggling for balance, but she didn’t give up as her dad was behind her supporting her and urging her to keep moving ahead. He was being her source of confidence.

In this life all of us have struggled with self-belief one time or the other. We envy certain people for being so self-assured and appearing to be so sure of themselves.  It seems as if it comes naturally to them, doesn’t it? At various points of my life when I have been low on confidence I have found a source of confidence. And I have been blessed enough to have more than one source of confidence.

Going back to my school days when studies was of utmost importance my dad was always there to encourage me. He could be strict but he was encouraging, and always gently urged me to perform better in my studies. I never felt pressured and it helped me to be confident in my subjects as the element of fear and pressure was never dominating my mind.  Classes never seemed like a burden, thanks to him.

I have always been in awe of these public speakers, who so magically captivate the audience with their eloquent speech. Once it so happened that the top extempore speaker was absent in the class and we needed two participants for inter-class extempore speech competition. One of my friends who were a good speaker had filled one spot. My English Ma’am suggested me to fill the second spot. She said that I should give it a try. I reluctantly heeded to her suggestion. I was a nervous wreck in front of the mike and I think I just completed a sentence or two about my given topic, stared blankly at my principal and my classmates, and then stepped down in embarrassment.  But somehow to my surprise I felt my fear of facing a public audience had decreased to a great extent. And I realized that with more preparation and practice, I could, may be captivate an audience one day. That small push from Ma’am placed me in a position which I for long felt was beyond me.

She was also the first one who pointed out to me that I could write well. In one of my essays she had remarked that it was very interesting. It assured me that I was capable of writing well and in a way it was that one remark which spurred me to write articles, poems and snippets and maintain writing as one of my primary hobbies.

Confidence is such a fragile entity that a small positive word or action can uplift and do a world of good for a person who is need of it.

I don’t claim to be a very spiritual person, but whenever I need that internal peace and tranquility, a source of love and hope, I have taken recourse to prayer. My faith has helped me to get through some tough times. It’s a never ending source of inner strength and resolve. And I know that I can always count on it.

And when I have faced heartbreaks and emotional crisis I have turned to very close friends and certain cousins whose listening ears have helped me to lighten the load of my heavy heart. Though I have never been dependent on a particular anyone I am immensely fortunate to have multiple sources of confidence in my life.    

WHERE DOES MY STRENGTH COME FROM?

Recently, I was on chat with my friend.

Me: ‘Hi…how are you?’

She: I’m good. Thank you.

         Exams will start on 29th

        I have not studied anything

(Because since a month she was on bed due to an infection and she had recovered just 5/6 days back )

Me: Don’t worry. Trust God. He will surely help you.

       Can I ask you a question?

She: Yes.

Me: If I am not wrong, you’re in tension! Right?

She: Yes, a lot. I need to finish my courses before exam and I have no time left.

         I don’t know what is going to happen.

Me: Don’t treat it as problem, take it as a challenge. The situation will be little lighter for you to navigate.

        But ultimately you need the strength of the Almighty.

She: I’ll try…

Me: Sounds too bad… 

She: Why?

Me: You’re a brave girl. You know very well how to take a problem as a challenge.

        “I’ll try” – doesn’t sound good from you.

She: Hmm… But what to do? Situation is like that!

Me: Do you know there are two best lines that always strengthens me when I go through situations like your’s?

She: What are those lines?

Me: “Call unto me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”

        “Be still and know, I am the Lord, your God” (The Bible)

Let me pen a bit from my past. It was January 2004 when I met an accident, in which I lost my memory for 3 hours. But it was only the power of God which brought me back to life. After that the Neuro-Specialist advised my parents that, “they should drop my education and keep me in a dark room where even sunlight can’t go because of my injury which was severe. And I was to be under strict medication till I turned 25 years of age”. It was then, when my parents were completely worn out, that they struggled to keep fake smiles on their faces to see smile on my face. As a pre-teen I felt like my life has become a scum! In such a fearsome condition my friends brought my annual examination news. Despite of my physical inabilities I urged my parents to give me prayer support so that I can write my papers. My parents sincerely prayed for me and I started preparing for annual exam but my brain was not coping with me. After every couple of hours I needed to take power naps. I was throwing up frequently. Even while writing my Maths paper I was unable to bear the pressure and slept for more than 20 minutes in the examination hall. But still I continued my studies and did everything like every other normal person does. Soon after graduating from the university, at 21 years of age I started my professional career where travelling and training was the nature of my profession from the very beginning.  

But the big question that always hits me – HOW  WAS I ABLE TO DO THESE THINGS?

  • Was the Medical science/my diagnosis/doctor’s advises all wrong?
  • Was this just a coincidence?
  • Was this because of my self-confidence?
  • Was this because of my hard-work?

Bible says, “If you have faith like mustard seed, your prayer will be answered by God.” And Bible also says, “Your faith must accompany your work. Work without Faith is dead and Faith without Work is also dead”.

I and my parents could have easily quit as per medical advice or could have continued my studies without seeking the grace of God. But then my life would have been such that I wouldn’t be sharing my life with you over here .

We have to work and along with that we have to put our confidence on God. God is the only PERFECT INFINITE SOVEREIGN entity. He created us with a definite purpose and has counted our days on earth. We humans are finite; we can’t guarantee our tomorrow but HE CAN! We humans are never 100% perfect; but HE IS! We humans depend on wisdom and knowledge but HE IS THE SOURCE OF ALL WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE!

What do you say, Is it self-confidence or Work with Confidence on God”?

WHY ‘I, ME, MYSELF’ IS MY ONLY SOURCE OF CONFIDENCE

We all need something to hold on to when darkness shrouds us. We all depend on that one thing, or one person, that can tell us, ‘Go on. This isn’t your stop’. That ‘one’, which when removed from our lives leaves us feeling like a tree without roots… orphaned.

For some it’s their parents, spouse, a BFF. A lot of people put their faiths in God. Some in their money, as mundane as that may sound. But it’s practical, and it happens.

Likewise, I too have something that is the source of both my confidence and solace when I’m feeling down in the dumps – myself. Unrealistic and vain as it may sound, it’s the one thing that keeps me going, has helped me through all my darkest hours and is the one thing I can rely on for the future too. Faith in myself is the source of my confidence.

I haven’t lived long yet, but in these 3 decades of my life I have known a few things – near poverty, alienation, rejection and loneliness, and through it all I’ve learnt that while my parents, the man of my life or my best friends may support me by lending me an ear or a shoulder, nothing and no one will actually make me get up and make things right, but my own will to fight back and the confidence in myself, that I can turn things around.

Adversity has been a theme in my life, be it in terms of education, career, friendship or love. I’m always battling someone or something who threatens to destroy my peace of mind, all that I stand for, all that is ‘me’. I’ve had to work hard for everything I wanted. And while I don’t resent the hardwork, I do resent when people call it ‘nothing’, in effect negating my labor and sweat. There are some troublemongers in my life who will always stir up trouble for me. But I’ve learnt, by tripping, falling face first and then gathering myself, that in the end, you can only rely on your own strength to get up.

I’m religious but not ritualistic. I’m somewhere between an agnostic and a theist. I’ve never relied on God to help me through things. I do believe in him, just not that he can help me with things, if I don’t help myself. I think God believes strongly in the survival of the fittest, or the luckiest. I’ve never been the latter, but I strive to be the former.

Maybe the reason why I’m so pessimistic in my reliance on people is because I have so few of them to bank upon. I don’t have many friends because by bad luck, distance has weakened our bonds, so that even if they ever wanted to help, the miles between us would make it hard for them. Ditto for my parents and my Husband, the latter being in a profession where he can’t help but leave me for months on end. I’ve faced a lot of crisis in his absence too, and that’s why my intrinsic strength matters so much to me.

Truth be told, I don’t see anything wrong in that – in relying on yourself. It makes you stronger, confident and readies you for the next challenge, any challenge really. The way I see it, when you start putting your faith in others, while it’s definitely not a sign of weakness, there may be a time when they are not around to help you, and your confidence will start to flounder. You may call on them for help, for guidance, but for actually doing something, you cannot always rely on people. In fact, that’s wrong – relying on others to do your jobs, or fight your battles. I know such people in my life who will not fight themselves but use others as shields or worse still, as their minions in the name of friendship/relationship, and I loathe them for their of lack of gumption.

Building confidence in yourself is not easy. It takes time and mistakes, but it helps you immensely because we are, ultimately, alone. We came alone, we die alone, and while we may make friends on the way, we have to tread the path of life alone.

It doesn’t however mean you become hermits and relinquish all your friends. It just means that when adversity strikes you should be strong enough to first seek help from your own reserves. It just means that we should not over-depend on the advice and help of others.

It also means that in your relationships, you do not expect things from others. It allows you to give more in a relationship because you’re anyway not expecting things. Often relationships break up because the other does not meet our expectations. Because we feel a lack of equal reciprocity from the other. This way of life I have has taught me that love in relationships is not a matter of barter or exchange. There cannot be an equal amount of give and take in any relationship, not even between husband and wife. All you can do is teach yourself that you need to just give, and not expect anything, or much in return.

It’s hard, make that very hard, and I still struggle with it all the time, but there have been times when not expecting things has helped me keep it together. So, for example, when it seemed like a possibility that my Husband might not be able to make it in time for my child’s birth, I didn’t let it make me resentful towards my Husband. That was one situation where I was entirely at the mercy of others because I was to have a C-section. There was little I could have done by myself. So, I told myself I had others around me, a good doctor who was caring for me, and that my Husband would be here a few days later. No biggie. But I do know some women who, to this day, give their husbands an earful for never being around during childbirth. Ladies, the man is with you now. Isn’t that all that matters?

There have been other instances too where during crisis my Husband has never been around because of work constraints. If I had allowed myself to break down on account of his absence I wouldn’t have been writing to you today. It’s only because I willed myself to go on and battle it out that I came out of those problems, and came out a winner too. How’s that for a turnaround?!

So, when people tell me they are facing problems and have no one to help them, my way of encouraging them is to tell them, ‘look within yourself. You have all the help you need right there. Leave the rest to God.’

Pradita Kapahi

Blog: The Pradita Chronicles