Encouraging Embarrassment

The ball is right in front of me.

I’m standing as the goalkeeper, eagerly waiting for the ball to come in my direction.

“Catch it, catch it!”, my teammates are shouting at me.

The opponent kicks it straight at me, it’s in my hands…

Then a gust of wind distracts me and I let go of the ball.

My mishap let the opponents score a goal, and my teammates are screaming out in despair and disappointment.

Yeah, this wasn’t how I expected my first football game to go.


That evening, I was basically on the verge of a nervous breakdown, going over the dreadful situation all over again in my head, wishing deeply to emigrate to another country, preferably one that didn’t know what football was. I was drowning myself in thoughts of embarrassment and disappointment.

To make things worse, my mum locked me in the balcony for fifteen minutes, which was AMAZING, thanks ma (note the sarcasm), and after that, I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt the weight of the world falling on my shoulders, and I felt beaten.

I’m a perfectionist. There. I said it. I’m certainly not afraid of it. I take immense pride in excelling at something, irrespective of my interest or experience in the particular craft. Whatever it is, I tend to drive myself to physical and emotional limits in order to be the best at it.

My inability to hold on to a ball (that was already in my hands) shook me to my core for some weird reason. It reminded me of a truth that I buried deep inside my mind; a truth that I wanted to forget – that I’m not good at everything.

No one really ever is, though.

So if you’re going through a phase of excruciatingly painful embarrassment, read the following tips to deal with the pain.

Let it wash over you.

Don’t resist the pain. That’s the last thing you should do. Instead, just take a moment to relax, and let the feeling of embarrassment pass over you. By doing so, the feeling won’t run all over you for a long time. The sooner you deal with the pain, the sooner the pain will subside.

Talk.

With anyone! On the evening of my (disgraceful) failure, I spent thirty minutes having a conversation with my mom about everything that happened. It really helped me clear my head about the whole situation and I felt infinitely more confident in myself afterward.

Fail fast, fail often.

The most important thing I learned that day is that if I want to get better at something, I must be willing to mess up. Badly and often. The only way to know how far you can go is by going as far as you can go, and going a little bit further until you crash. The only way to understand your full capability is by first knowing your shortcomings. I learned that I sucked at catching a ball. Thanks to that dreadful experience, I now know that with proper training and practice, I can learn how to catch a ball properly, which will, in turn, make me a better football player. Which leads me to my next tip:

Understand that it’s for your own good.

In time, you must learn to trust your mistakes, for they teach you exactly what you need to learn.

Realize that this is normal.

It is normal to feel inadequate and beat up from time to time. So give yourself space to breathe whenever you feel like you’re not good enough. Take a step back and tell yourself that whatever it is you’re going through, it will pass and that you are not alone.

The world is like a reverse casino. In a casino, if you gamble long enough, you’re certainly going to lose. But in the real world, where the only thing you’re gambling is, say, your time or your embarrassment, then the more stuff you do, the more you give luck a chance to find you. – Scott Adams

Let’s Deal With Disappointment, Shall We?

The tension in the room is palpable.

Everyone in the class is eagerly waiting for the bell to ring.

5…4…3…2…1

*ringggg*

Once the teacher leaves, we all rush to the nearest bulletin board on our floor. All of us want to know whether we cleared the test, or failed.

No, we weren’t looking at the results of our final exams.

We were looking at the I-Section entrance test results.

Every year, our school conducts an entrance exam for secondary school students to test their smartness. Then, they segregate the “smart” kids into a different, Integrated-Section.

Yes, I’m in this section. No, sometimes (such as now) I don’t like it.

So our results are on the bulletin board, but I already know my marks- 45 out of 50.

I don’t want to say this, but – oh god – I was disappointed with my marks.

Sometimes I wonder whether I could be the definition of a typical Indian teenage nerd- smart, constantly worried, over-analytic about marks, overpressured and overburdened. Ok, the last part is a bit of an exaggeration. Seriously mom. I’m fine. Don’t send me to the counsellor or to math tuition.

The funny thing is, though, that even though I got through by a big margin, I still felt kinda uneasy. Like I hadn’t done enough to prove my nerdiness to other people. Even though I had accomplished my goal, my mind was too fixated on the smaller picture. Marks.

My whole day went past me like a blur, while all I thought about was how bad I was at acing tests and how much I sucked at them.

That afternoon, during my bus ride back home, my history teacher, who’s a very sweet person (I’m not being paid to say this), asked me if I was sick or something. ‘Cause apparently I looked like I had a fever.

I told her about my rather disgraceful test performance, and she just broke into soft laughter.

“Don’t worry so much, ma. If the teachers are happy with your results, then it’s fine! Don’t take it so seriously.”

Those words gave me just the perspective my naive mind needed. My mood went from sullen, brooding, contemplative and disappointed to accepting, and ready to make a change. I was ready to change my day into one full of opportunities at my disposal.

Here are 5 things I did that evening to lift my mood. You should try them too.

Talk to a friend.

If you’re feeling low, pick up your phone and chat up with an old friend. The feeling of having someone who listens and talks to you can be therapeutic at times.

Tell yourself that it’ll pass.

Because it will. You know that. Stop for a moment, tell your little irrational brain to shut up, and remind yourself that whatever you’re feeling is perfectly normal, and your despair with come to an end.

Throw your responsibilities away for a day.

One primary reason for disappointment is high expectations. From anyone. So since you can’t control what others expect from you, the best you can do is control what you expect from yourself. Don’t push your limits for a few hours. Just. Relax.

Play a sport.

Sports are awesome! They are also scientifically proven to reduce stress and depression. So if you have a basketball court or just a park in your neighbourhood, call a couple of your friends down and play for a while!

Write about it (as I am now).

Writing helps because nothing provides perspective through self-realisation quite like writing. The minute you put a sad feeling on paper, it loses its dramatic, overestimated impact on your mental wellbeing. There’s no need to amplify a situation through writing. As long as you write down the bare facts about what happened and how you feel, this works.

That day, I learnt that no matter how bad a day goes, I can always change how I feel about it with a simple shift in mindset.

I learnt that if I just change your mindset from one of disappointment to one of acceptance and growth, everything will be okay.

Hopefully, you learnt that too.

“I’m sad, hurt, angry, mad, disappointed. But you know what? I will put on a happy face and move on. It will hurt but I will survive.”

Road

The sparkle in her eyes

Makes you feel that fairytales are true

She doesn’t even have to try

She can make you swoon from morning to noon


Then she puts on her disguise

Fact or fiction, oh we have no clue

Cause she’s afraid of what she can do


So she set herself on fire

So we could see her burn

But we’ve only heard her whisper

No matter what she’s done


She can’t take it any longer

She’s going to explode

Unless she takes a long drive

Down her favourite road


She was the perfect poster child

Could light up the world with her sense of humour

But now she barely smiles

Oh, what happened there, god knows what hit her


She tries not to cry

But she fears her happy days are over

She doesn’t really think that she’s a failure

She’s just waiting for someone to save her


She set herself on fire

Cause she wanted to be sure

She was gonna be remembered

She thought she wasn’t anymore


Unreal expectations will put her

into overload

Unless she takes a long drive

Down her favourite road

You’re not good enough.

Over the last 2 days, I’ve been really busy a packing up all my stuff, ready to move into a new house. Since I was exhausted from all the work, I decided against doing any school homework. I just slept, ate, watched YouTube videos, and slept again. Today morning, I woke up feeling ridiculously apprehensive about my broken work schedule and my lack of interest in academics and life in general. I felt like if I don’t constantly do something related to school work, I would become an utter failure. I felt like I’m not enough.

I mean, sure, there are things I’m good at. Like writing. Speaking. And singing. And the guitar and math. And then there’s things I’m absolutely horrible at. Like kicking a ball straight. Or finding and keeping things. Or remembering anything more than my first name. Or drawing. Or dancing. I mean, I would rather drown in a pool of piranhas than doing those(this is clearly an exaggeration.).

We’re all good at certain things and ridiculously terrible at other things. And that’s quite frankly the balance of human nature. The only we can do is continue to get better at the things we’re already good at and learn from others.

But we have to make the first move of trying. Make the commitment to learn. It’s okay to make mistakes and act like a fool, if it’s means it gets you closer to being good at something. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Do what you have to do to be good enough.

Because most of the times, enough is, well, more than enough.