Life lessons

Good enough

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photo credit: comedy_nose via photopin cc

They thought I would amount to nothing. Nothing I ever did was good enough. I had gone from being an outgoing blabbermouth who topped the class for five consecutive years to someone shy, introverted and average in all subjects that mattered {read: everything except English}. One in particular made sure my mum knew what a hopeless case I was. I doubted myself. And I really thought I wasn’t good enough.

Not only that, I had stopped participating in anything to do with public speaking and was generally tongue tied when I had to speak up in front of the classroom. One incident had dashed my confidence of speaking in front of others. And I used the best way I knew to cope: I avoided all forms of public speaking. After all, I wasn’t good enough. 

I managed to avoid having to do any form of public speaking for 3 years. And then there came a teacher who believed in me and my abilities. But I was sceptical. Because I wasn’t good enough. She tried to persuade me to participate in extempore speaking. I refused. And continued to avoid. She told my mum that my plans to go the college I wanted to was probably a good thing — it would help my confidence.

In the beginning, it really did not do anything for my confidence. Bigger classes. More people. It just meant I went into my shell a lot more. And then, in Year 12 came the dreaded moment. Having to make a 5 minute speech in Psychology in front of the entire class on a topic of our choice. I was shitting myself. I was stressing out. Weeks before it was due. I chose a topic {Histrionic Personality disorder — I still remember it!} and practised. But it didn’t help the nerves. On D-day, I stepped nervously in front of the 100-odd students. I searched out for a couple of my friends. And rattled my speech in 2 minutes. I saw the teacher’s puzzled look of is-she-already-done.

Yeah, I wasn’t good enough.

In my second and third years of psychology, there was a bit more public speaking involved. Sure the classes were smaller but it meant a lot more. Especially in third year when it went towards our final marks. My friends were extremely supportive during this time and I remember having them sit at different parts of the room thereby ensuring I was making enough eye contact. I definitely spoke for more than 3 minutes!

There was no escaping public speaking during my Masters when several group assignments involved presentations in front of our peers. Surely and steadily, I got better. I was still nervous but kept at it. I remembered to slow down while talking. And had my friends support me along the way.

A couple of years ago I did something big. As a professional, I presented to a group of other health professionals for 90 minutes. Yes. 90 minutes. This was beyond presenting to parents and adolescents. It was a presentation to peers. And I did it three times. Sure I was nervous but with each time, the nerves diminished and the confidence grew.

If there’s one thing I know, it’s the avoidance makes anxiety worse. And actually facing your fears gradually will help you overcome it. I continue to use this example for my own clients plagued with anxiety. Because I have been there. I know what it is like to have eyes on you. I know what it is like to be scared of making a mistake. I know what it is like to wonder if people will get bored or if they will laugh at you. I know what it is like to constantly feel like you are not good enough.

But now, while I am not a prolific public speaker, I am good enough.

I'm taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words -3

 

***Linking with the Write Tribe Festival of Words Day 5: Inspiring stories***

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

 

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  • Rajlakshmi
    March 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    That’s inspiring indeed. I love reading about people who have overcome their fears and are striving for excellence. Public speaking scares me too, but when you start working in an organization n it’s one of the criterias for appraisal there’s not much choice left 🙂 kudos to you gifting your fears.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…The Room of the deadMy Profile

  • Rajlakshmi
    March 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    That’s inspiring indeed. I love reading about people who have overcome their fears and are striving for excellence. Public speaking scares me too, but when you start working in an organization n it’s one of the criterias for appraisal there’s not much choice left 🙂 kudos to you gifting your fears.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…The Room of the deadMy Profile

  • KP
    March 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    I was like you till I joined a speaking club to get over my fear..As you rightly said confronting the problem instead of shying away from it is half the battle won.Nice post
    KP recently posted…The young man’s impulseMy Profile

  • KP
    March 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    I was like you till I joined a speaking club to get over my fear..As you rightly said confronting the problem instead of shying away from it is half the battle won.Nice post
    KP recently posted…The young man’s impulseMy Profile

  • richa singh
    March 6, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I had a similar story back in school. I had written it as a guest post for vidya 🙂 will try to find the link and send it to you 🙂 and yes sometimes practice or the sheer habit of breaking free helps 🙂 And I am sure you are a prolific speaker, just being humble for us here 😀
    richa singh recently posted…Thank God for Human conversationsMy Profile

  • richa singh
    March 6, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I had a similar story back in school. I had written it as a guest post for vidya 🙂 will try to find the link and send it to you 🙂 and yes sometimes practice or the sheer habit of breaking free helps 🙂 And I am sure you are a prolific speaker, just being humble for us here 😀
    richa singh recently posted…Thank God for Human conversationsMy Profile

  • Leo
    March 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    That’s an inspiring story, Babs. I think my life story is in another way. I went from a shy introvert character to a talkative, much more outgoing one. But I do have my fears, and I think, after reading your story, I will work much more to not avoid facing them and getting past them. 🙂
    Leo recently posted…An Inspiration…My Profile

  • Leo
    March 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    That’s an inspiring story, Babs. I think my life story is in another way. I went from a shy introvert character to a talkative, much more outgoing one. But I do have my fears, and I think, after reading your story, I will work much more to not avoid facing them and getting past them. 🙂
    Leo recently posted…An Inspiration…My Profile

  • Ananya Kiran
    March 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Nice !
    Inspiring 🙂
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  • Ananya Kiran
    March 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Nice !
    Inspiring 🙂
    Ananya Kiran recently posted…Inspiring or not…U decide!My Profile

  • Hemlata kukreja
    March 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Kudos to u for breaking that fear wall and going out of your comfort zone.
    Nicely written
    Hemlata kukreja recently posted…My Inspiration to become Stronger PersonMy Profile

  • Hemlata kukreja
    March 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Kudos to u for breaking that fear wall and going out of your comfort zone.
    Nicely written
    Hemlata kukreja recently posted…My Inspiration to become Stronger PersonMy Profile

  • Jyothi Nair
    March 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I have had a similar experience too. We had to present a seminar as a part of our final year requirement in college. I was shivering from head to toe from the word go. Then , later in life I taught school kids for three years. Talk about working on the stage fear. It was a tough thing to so initially. But then it worked out fine. 🙂
    Jyothi Nair recently posted…InspirationMy Profile

  • Jyothi Nair
    March 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I have had a similar experience too. We had to present a seminar as a part of our final year requirement in college. I was shivering from head to toe from the word go. Then , later in life I taught school kids for three years. Talk about working on the stage fear. It was a tough thing to so initially. But then it worked out fine. 🙂
    Jyothi Nair recently posted…InspirationMy Profile

  • Shailaja V
    March 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    PB darling, you are more than good. You are great! Always believe that 🙂 Never let anyone tell you otherwise. If they do, ask them to go suck an egg (unless that’s something they actually enjoy;) Then tell them to take their negativity elsewhere.

    Loved this post.
    Shailaja V recently posted…Touching livesMy Profile

  • Shailaja V
    March 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    PB darling, you are more than good. You are great! Always believe that 🙂 Never let anyone tell you otherwise. If they do, ask them to go suck an egg (unless that’s something they actually enjoy;) Then tell them to take their negativity elsewhere.

    Loved this post.
    Shailaja V recently posted…Touching livesMy Profile

  • Inspiring Stories. They Inspire Me - Vidya Sury
    March 6, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    […] Good Enough by Psych Babbler […]

  • Inspiring Stories. They Inspire Me - Vidya Sury
    March 6, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    […] Good Enough by Psych Babbler […]

  • Vidya Sury
    March 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Public speaking is considered a fate worse than death, after the visit to the dentist. I think you deserve applause for what you overcame and remember – You. Are. Always. Good. Enough. No matter what!


    Vidya Sury recently posted…Inspiring Stories. They Inspire MeMy Profile

  • Vidya Sury
    March 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Public speaking is considered a fate worse than death, after the visit to the dentist. I think you deserve applause for what you overcame and remember – You. Are. Always. Good. Enough. No matter what!


    Vidya Sury recently posted…Inspiring Stories. They Inspire MeMy Profile

  • jaishvats
    March 6, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Fear and anxiety magnifies any task’s difficulty. As you rightly put facing these fears is the best way to overcome them.
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  • Archana
    March 6, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Everyone has gone through the first speech in school and college I guess.. but not more… I also remember turning to my teacher to tell her that I am done with, but she was busy doing some writing with the register. But she did notice that I did not refer the piece of paper I had kept in my hand in case I forgot my lines. I still remember the appreciation. 🙂
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  • Soumya
    March 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Atta girl! Proud of you 🙂
    Soumya recently posted…Play, Everyday!My Profile

  • Shilpa Garg
    March 6, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I believe most of us would have gone through this fear of speaking in public. It is simply fantastic you just went ahead and conquered your fears! Way to go, girl! ♥
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Small Acts of KindnessMy Profile

  • Sreeja Praveen
    March 6, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    That’s a wonderful achievement ! Congrats on conquering the fear, and thanks for sharing this with us ! Believe in yourself….you’re good enough, no matter what 🙂
    Sreeja Praveen recently posted…AMHA !!My Profile

  • Vaisakh Venugopal
    March 6, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    That was inspiring indeed.. and like you said, the best way to overcome fear is to face it. Your story in a great example of that. Good luck! 🙂
    Vaisakh Venugopal recently posted…A second between life and deathMy Profile

  • Kalpana Solsi
    March 6, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Speaking for a presentation or extempore is difficult only till one conquers it. A big round of applause for you PB. I have seen some people refusing to give up the mike as they love to speak:)
    Kalpana Solsi recently posted…Big heartsMy Profile

  • Nibha
    March 7, 2014 at 12:17 am

    That was really inspiring! I can totally understand the anxiety as I am also scared of public speaking or its just the introvert in me! I think your story might help!
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  • sulekha
    March 7, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Yes you are right. Facing your fears makes them go away and avoiding them makes them larger than life. You did great by not letting fear stop you from going out there and speaking in front of people. Sure we all get nervous before going on stage, so what 🙂

  • Titaxy
    March 7, 2014 at 12:52 am

    very inspiring, PB. i am still afraid of public speaking, and many many other things. i get it when i read that i have to face fears to get rid of them, but the understanding and realization hasn’t hit me yet. oh well 🙁
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  • Kajal
    March 7, 2014 at 2:28 am

    Superb PB! I know what you’re saying. I guess, its that first nudge of someone else placing their confidence in you that does the trick. Am sure you think of your teacher fondly, even today, Great that you overcame you fear of public speaking. It is true, Victory is beyond fear…face it! Superb 🙂
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  • vishalbheeroo
    March 8, 2014 at 3:06 am

    Inspiring and thought-provoking. I’ve been through this phase and can understand your feeling as well as what you’ve been through:)
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    April 2, 2014 at 6:00 am

    […] I believe I am a competent enough psychologist who is willing to learn and grow. I believe in my public speaking capacity. I believe that even if my opinions differ from others, I am entitled to them. I believe I […]

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