Flying back to Ahmedabad involved taking 4 flights over 2 days. It finally gave me a chance to pause and think about what I had done over the last 8 months, working on a fake case while applying real Law and learning how the modalities of that Law works.
But this post isn’t about that.
What my flight gave me time to do was to think – and I slowly got around to thinking about what I fear the most. I fear two things: failure, and isolation. And in a strange way, I find that both these fears are very interconnected. This may end up becoming a very preachy post, and you can judge me for it – but I’ve always used this blog as a forum to express thoughts in my brain, so I’m not going to apologize for content I write, even if it is preachy.
Let’s discuss fear first. I realized slowly that my fear of failure doesn’t come out of some form of desire to conform to society’s expectations of me, but rather, to meet expectations I set for myself. I consider missing out on standards I hold myself accountable to, far worse than disappointing others. This could be things as small as being a nice person, or complimenting someone on something, or congratulating someone. I think in the grand scheme of things, when I miss out on those, I feel terrible. It’s why I constantly apologize for messing up. While I recognize my actions may have caused hurt to people – and therefore I should apologize and demonstrate I have understood what had transpired and will try not to repeat it again, what I takeaway more is that I’ve ended up deviating from an identity of mine that makes me happiest, and that, is far more disappointing.
This fear of failure manifests itself a lot in the form of disappointment in myself, and sometimes, a lack of self-confidence. While the latter isn’t common, the former happens every time I am unhappy. It’s something I have begun to change by setting out to tasks with simpler goals and focusing on experiences rather than outcomes – trying to find happiness rather than achievements, and it has, in some sense, made things better. But something I’ve learnt is that you can’t force emotions, and it’s okay to feel disappointed in yourself at times. Just, always find the courage to move past that disappointment. It does, in the long run, make all the difference (or so I hear).
It’s also okay to feel jealousy and rage. These are only human emotions. They’re not dirty, and nobody is going to judge you for being angry about something. It’s fine to experience these things. It’s also okay if people judge you. If you’re feeling something, you’re feeling something. The human brain is weird, and feelings are not fully controllable at times.
Like love. That’s a weird emotion as well. Hmm.
I find it strange that I need to express this out in words, but because both those emotions have negative connotations attached to them so often, I’ve tried blocking them out of my personality a lot. I don’t think that’s very healthy.
There have been several people who have given me this perspective in the last few days, and I’m very grateful to them all.
That’s my fear of failure. As an optimist, I’m also perennially hopeful of securing the best outcome possible, and when that doesn’t work out, it does lead to disappointment. That’s okay as well, I find – but over the last few months, I’ve becoming far more of a realist. A couple of experiences have taught me to hope for the best, but expect the most likely, logical outcome you can envisage. Sometimes, that could be the worst. Who knows.
The second fear is a little worse. It’s isolation. I’ve chronicled this in the past on this blog, so I don’t want to delve into murky waters again – I’m going to focus on the correlation between my two fears a little more.
Sometimes I feel like I disappoint other people, or I fail to meet expectations people have of me. And I am, somewhat fearful that people will leave me. I don’t trust easy, nor do I open up quickly. I’m slow with emotional realizations, and daft about people’s willingness to help me at times. It’s quite painful for others, I would imagine.
This is a characteristic of mine I have worked on slowly over the last few years. It’s a continuous process.
But isolation is not something I would enjoy.
Another thing that pricks at me is that sometimes I make mistakes. Objective ones. I say things casually that have deeper meanings, or maybe even cause discomfort to people. All humans do this. It’s what both worries me and fascinates me.
The worrying bit is that you know, people will leave because of some discomfort I cause them. This is small, but true.
The fascinating bit is that people are so unique and have preferences, and quirks, and things that cause them discomfort. All I can do is to be open-minded and accepting of people, and be considerate and kind. It feels like the only thing in my control, and that to me, is so incredibly cool about this Universe.
Someone close to me recently told me I should stop thinking so much. They were right about that. I tend to get trapped in trains of thought that somehow always lead to me apologizing to someone, or overthinking some extremely small detail. Entrapping myself in my thoughts is not something I enjoy, nor is it a habit I believe is healthy. Overthinking isn’t either – it prevents me from enjoying a lot of things, and it also prevents people around me from enjoying themselves or enjoying my company. I may have, actually ruined people’s days by pointing out some terribly small insignificant thing I felt bad about when it was unnecessary.
All of this post was a result of a lot of thinking. It’s also something I believe has helped me stop overthinking about these fears, or situations, or guilt, or whatever the mixed bunch of emotions I was feeling while typing this out was. Overthinking has been happening a lot in the last two weeks. But also, it happens in bouts. When it happens, it can get really, really bad. A couple of things I’m happy about are that I can publicly acknowledge this weakness of mine, and that I’m surrounded by people who tell me that I’m being dumb and I haven’t really done things to think about. It’s quite lovely. Also helps me think less. Always a good thing (as you can see, I am rambling now.)
This post was written onboard my flight from Washington, D.C. to the Abu Dhabi. I made a couple of edits in Ahmedabad to reflect times a little more accurately.
At this point, if there’s someone reading this who is worried about me – please don’t be. This was 2 days ago, and I’m barely thinking like this right now. My self-confidence is fine, and I am very content at the moment. There are several things I am looking forward to, and I’m overthinking a lot less. Hopefully this helps me live in the moment a lot more!
Also, a massive thank you to several people who shall go unnamed who have provided me assurances and listened to my emotional bursts at the strangest times.
Also happier posts to come! GloPoWriMo time is best time.