Joy amid debilitating self-doubt

I am an avid consumer of self help blog posts, most often titled thirty days to <insert quality>. With very few exceptions, i always have a three point response to them : sudden bout of hopefulness that this will work, burst of adrenaline as i download the app/ make the list/ set the alarm, and the gradual dullness of realizing that this isn’t happening. when i ignore the app and the list and the alarm.

In a world constantly aiming for perfection, not being able to do what someone documented as a successful approach to inching closer to perfection comes with a generous dose of self-doubt. What is it that makes ME unable to do this — do i lack follow-through, am i lazy, am i just not together enough? The pursue of <insert quality> brings into focus the other pre-requisite qualities i lack.

And here’s what i realized after about the thirtieth iteration of this cycle.

My premise is wrong.

I am expecting a formula made for a different set of parameters to work for me. This formula might be made for list-making individuals wanting to learn this skill, but when applied to non-list makers , it doesn’t have expected results. This doesn’t mean us non-list makers can’t achieve <insert quality>, it just means we have a better chance of achieving it using a different approach. The beauty of this realization is that it can be extended to explain a whole lot of unwarranted inadequacy — like when two people do the exact same thing and only one succeeds. The premise is wrong. The second person is expecting to succeed on account of parameters that don’t necessarily work for them.

To that second person and to myself, I say: you deserve to have your wishes fulfilled and they will not be denied to you. When you feel you are doing everything right and it isn’t working, ask yourself how you know its “right”? Is it even the rightest “right” for you? When you worry that you may not attain your goals because you may lack certain qualities, find a combination of the qualities you have that can get you there. Because there are more than one ways to get to the same outcome. And while you are working on finding your personal formula for goal-attaining, don’t you go around berating your flaws and trying to erase them. Your flaws are a part of what makes you yourself and they will become a part of your formula. For now, breathe, quell the gremlins in your mind, and know you have all the makings of anyone you want to be.

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