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Hell is other people Handling insecurities and opinions

Opinions- the fundamental right of speech, the instrument of thinkers like the pen and  paper; weapons of the powerless like a sharp sword or, perhaps, a double edged sword in my…well… ‘opinion’.


The seed

During my youthful years in the medical college I too carried the weight of other people’s opinions. Having been brought up and spent my adolescent years in an average run of the mill school, medical college seemed like unknown territory to me. Unaware of the glitz and glamour of the world beyond the rusty school gates I experienced a culture shock when interacting with my seniors. They inspected my pants for a ‘brand’ logo or symbol. When asked about why my pants do not have a brand on it I told them that I did not own one. Their reactions were as confusing as the confusion which gripped my mind. Then and there the seed of self-doubt was sown in my mind. That small incident very  quickly changed my gullible and highly impressionable mind. I bought only the label of the brand and had it stitched to my normal pants. There was a complete paradigm shift in my personality. But even after that I did not feel as if I belonged to the ‘branded’ group. The desire to fit in was so distracting that I never questioned my integrity.

As I grew up and gained real world experience I realised that my mentality as a youth was changed not because of the nature or scale of my peers’ opinions. Instead I exposed my insecurities to the world and for every little sting the world offered me in the form of inconsiderate opinions I felt a gut-wrenching stab. As kids we are not able to process these opinions and often lash out on ourselves.

Extrapolating this issue from the 1990’s to present day, the situation worsens ten times over. We live in a hyper-connected world, in an era when understanding technology is in its infancy but its use is engrossed in every aspect of our life, especially in lieu of the pandemic. Now, a single piece of content ranging from an artistic expression to a random selfie, is liable to have uncalled opinions from faceless entities. This can even transcend to cyber bullying. A single piece of uninformed opinion thus controls how you feel. Often the impact is much greater than intent.


Mother of the seed

So it is natural to ask.

“What makes me insecure?”

In  my experience the desire for achieving something great but drawing an impractical parallel between yourself and someone already achieving it births the seed of insecurity. It is important to be ambitious but young tender minds often get consumed by this. They start comparing themselves with someone far surpassing age and experience and yet lament over why they have not achieved that particular milestone. This is an unfair but not uncommon comparison made by us. All the rancid feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt pre-dominantly stem from this action.


Why is it still a problem?

I have known from personal interactions with students that the problem lies somewhat with our culture as a collective society. In a developing nation such as ours the elders are often heard cautioning youngsters against the little mishaps of everyday life. They are asked not to trust strangers who offer food, or leave your items unattended, or donate money to NGO’s. Ignore the act of taking food, people are afraid to even offer food to strangers unless there is an invoice made because they do not trust strangers lest they try and exploit money by claiming to have poisoned. This aura of mistrust is widespread in our country. Similarly the students in my institution often do not trust us to guide them. They do not trust their peers to be transparent and thus buy more study material, more packages of videos and courses. As a result they are saturated and overwhelmed. This prevents them from realising their true potential and causes them more harm than good.

It is an issue plaguing today’s youth. As Gen Z rightly termed it, FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. This fear, this insecurity amplifies the noises of the bad-mouthers.


How is it affecting us?

Everyone has an opinion on how you should conduct your life. In trying to follow their way we often lose our own. We start disregarding our own opinions. This slowly grows into indecisiveness and eventually into incapability of taking decisions altogether. The end result is a façade of an individual living life day in and day out without ever looking into the mirror, except for when taking selfies in your ‘branded’ pants.  When you let the world control the narrative of your life, your own story never gets written. 

Many aspects have been brought forth when discussing the cause of lack of growth in an individual. I believe the most formidable foe is not laziness, incompliance, competition or luck. It is one’s self-sabotaging feeling of insecurity. It is the biggest hinderance to success. It makes you overcompensate and overkill. Your excessive action leads to inaction. It holds the power to destroy your ventures, your career and even your relationships.


Ploughing the field

So how should we overcome it?


1. Self-affirmation- Be confident in your abilities. Always remind yourself of everything you have already achieved. This is imperative because once you know your true capabilities you know that you are growing. Growth may happen at your own rate, in your own time. That is irrelevant as long as you are growing.

2. A moment of silence-  Make sure you have a zone where nothing else can exist other than you and your thoughts. You need to visit this place from time to time and reflect upon yourself without the commotion of outside world. It is a great way to self-asses and self-introspect. This will help you gain clarity about yourself and your goals. Once you have that no ‘noobmaster69’ from Nalasopara can stir you.


3. High ambitions, not pedestals- Gain the knowledge to demarcate between  zealous ambitions and the raw reality of achieving them. Analyse the circumstances, learn from your mistakes and stay focused on the improbable and not the impossible.

4. Trust- It is particularly important to trust, probably not blindly, but with caution. The feeling of hostility that induces due to not being able to trust your surroundings may override your senses and you may lose sight of the end goal. Sometimes all you need is a leap of faith and maybe, just maybe, someone will catch you at the other end.


Parting words

You do not need a filter to face society. Have faith in yourself and your own system.

Success lies on the other side of this façade.


About Dr Sumer Sethi

Whatsapp at 9899664533 for DAMS related queries

Hell is other people Handling insecurities and opinions Reviewed by Sumer Sethi on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 Rating: 5

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