The Daily Growth Blog #35/365| Refresh Week: Moving on from vulnerability
Since I can remember, I’ve always been a bit afraid of almost everything. No, not the usual fear, but a fear of people around me, a fear of being the centre of attention or a fear of being made fun of.
For instance, if I missed doing my homework, I’d be so scared of what the teacher would say to me, or how I’d react if she pulled me up in front of everyone else. I would think, overthink and make myself really miserable.
In college, same fear of being ragged by the seniors — what would I do? How should I be? What should I say? I was mortified of the entire class looking at me and me saying something stupid in front of everyone.
I look back at all this now, and smile. ‘So cute’, I say to myself.
This doesn’t mean I am over all my fears now, it just means I am now weary of different things. As in, I am okay being made fun of or being the centre of attention but I am still scared of making a fool out of myself in an interview, for example. Every time I go through an interview process, I’ll come out of it and analyse how I fared. I’ll think about some questions where I answered ‘dumbly’ and how I did not think about anything wise or interesting to say. And then I’ll beat myself down over it.
This behaviour got me thinking about the core reasons behind such thoughts and how I could start coming out of this state of fear I’d see myself going into every now & then. So why do I feel scared before such vulnerable situations or dejected afterwards? Some reasons come to mind —
- The fear of my future self going through something that is tough and uncomfortable for him.
- ‘What will they think about me’ syndrome.
- Am I inherently stupid?
These and some other doubts plague my mind, every now and then.
Servicing & Repair
So what do I need to do to fix this?
First and foremost, I should know that my future self will be stronger, more equipped and more capable of managing situations, as they arise. Also, I should help my future self prepare for the situation by working on various scenarios, with a positive frame of mind.
Chris Hadfield, in his book, ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth’ explains how astronauts train for the worst case scenarios, and plan for every eventuality — even their deaths and how their families will be informed. Before every trip to space, he’d make sure all his affairs were in order and his family would not have to worry about any extrinsic issues if he did not return. You’d imagine that such preparation would create fear in his mind. But no, it actually created peace and calm. Because he prepared and was ready for the worst, he could focus on the task at hand — the space mission.
This was such a revelation.
Preparation needs to be done in a positive manner, to prepare one’s future self to manage every eventuality. Yes, there will be shocks and surprises but even in those cases, a basic fall-back mechanism of discipline & a step-by-step thought process (checklist) helps maintain a sense of order in chaos.
And this is exactly what I need to do. Prepare, and get over the fear. Be it for a family outing where you’re managing the itinerary or a job interview for a role you’re not too sure about.
Secondly, I need to become okay with being vulnerable and presenting my raw self to others. I close down at times, and try to present this ultra-cool, rockstar version of myself, to keep the kid inside me safe. But I should let the kid be outside, in the open, let it play.
Because I am the most authentic version of myself when I am open and free.
The final thing I think I need to work on is to be okay with screwing up, at times. I might need to journal and write down my mistakes so that I can learn from them, but beyond that, I really should learn how to compartmentalize and move on.
This blog was due yesterday, 2nd December, so I’ll share what I did yesterday. Yashna, Vijeet and I went for a drive in the middle of the day, towards the airport. There is this nice McDonald’s on the way, where we had lunch, got some nice sweaters and then drove back. It was good fun!
I was also able to go get the bike washed, in preparation for the Kerala ride on Monday. That reminds me, I should start working on the packing list and itinerary for the trip.
Idling & Warmth
Yesterday I was grateful for the kid inside me. I am thankful for having been blessed with an innocent, fun loving, excited being within me. Whenever I connect with the inner kid, I feel happier, and more in love with everything around me. I am grateful to everyone around me who connects with that kid inside and helps nurture it, and grow it (without literally letting it grow up).
True happiness lies in innocence and love.