August 1, 2017
Do you ever find yourself thinking you’re not pretty enough, bold enough, bright enough, strong enough, lucky enough or whatever enough? Are these very thoughts preventing you from moving forward? Have you ever felt inferior, inadequate and handicapped by self-doubts? I have. We all have. You’re not alone! The fear that you’re not good enough is a fear routine that affects everyone, though it shows up differently for each person. I have expanded the alphabets U R GOOD to drive home the point that each and everyone of us are unique, down to each cell in our bodies. There is nothing lacking in us that stops us from investing in a little hope, consider opening a few doors and making a mark.
Stand tall as you are made up of better stuff,
Put on your very best and get across the rough,
Spread your wings, fly and show you are tough,
And always realise that you are good enough!
U:R – Understanding and loving yourself: Real you
“A beautiful thing is never perfect.” - Egyptian proverb
Are you good enough - just as you are? The answer is definitely yes, but do you believe that? The key to loving yourself is accepting yourself as you are. You must always love yourself, that way - you will be aware of your self-worth and feel positive. You must discover what you love about yourself. Why do we struggle so much to believe that we are good enough just as we are? Shift your perspective from what’s wrong with me? … to what do I appreciate about me? We are chronically oblivious to our own goodness. You are good enough because you have so many things no other person can offer. In fact you are perfect in this moment in time, yes, perfect even with all of your imperfections.
Tale of an Air-hostess: One of my cousins was an Air-hostess in Air India in the early 1990s, flying the western sector. She was brilliant, elegant, beautiful and those graceful blue eyes said it all! If you enquire about her – with classmates, colleagues, peers, neighbours, relatives, they would give her a total marks ‘10 out of 10’ saying that she is a complete package ‘beauty, brains and manners.’ Knowing her inner world, I knew she was not at all happy. She considered herself as lonely, useless, eyebrows too long, nose trifle short, this and that with never ending short comings and complaints! Sometimes, used to feel ‘down’ to such an extent, she was often wondering who would even marry her?
You are unique. The qualities that you have, someone else may not possess. Certainly you have more than some and less than others. It may help to keep in mind that some people do not have as much as you, even if you only have little. Many a times in our life, we become so focussed on what we haven’t achieved that we lose sight of what we have. It’s easy to forget about all the progress we’ve made and be discouraged by all the things in our lives that are going wrong or missing. Love yourself. Be confident! If you do not value yourself, nobody will! You are precious, you are special. You are an exceptional creature of God. You are good enough!
G – Gentle, gentle dealing with yourself
“Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece.” - Osho
Psychologists claim that a shocking secret to success is indeed being kind to yourself. The secret is to value yourself as much as, but no more than, you do others. Think about how you talk to your friends. You would never put them down and say mean things to them all day. Yet, we do this to ourselves! Imagine telling your friend “you’re fat, you’re stupid, you’re foolish.” If so, they wouldn’t be your friend for long! They are your friends because you encourage, support and show them love.
Story of a classmate: A classmate of mine had anxieties just thinking about exams during school days and at job interviews later in life. He was above average in his studies but when the exams were around the corner his confidence would wane. So much so, during his SSLC exams, he appeared only for two papers and gave up. Moving forward, he went to another city and completed his College. Later in life, he moved to the Arabian Gulf and was stuck in a Company for long letting go many opportunities to grow within the Company and outside due to lack of confidence. Applying for internal as well as external jobs, never used to make it for the interview as he fell ill a couple of days prior due to sheer fear. He used to be embarrassed of himself as he was going nowhere.
You need to become your own best friend. Be kind and gentle while dealing with yourself. As soon as you catch your inner critic being mean, you are going to speak to yourself like you would speak to your best friend. The best thing about being kind to yourself is that you will gradually start liking yourself more. There are only a few people in this world that will stay 100% true to you and YOU are one of them. When you stop bullying yourself, you will find it easier to like and accept yourself. Take control of your thoughts and start being kind to yourself! Not very long, you will realise and say “I am gentle with myself and say positive things. I know I can do it. I am good enough.”
Teammate Roopinder Dhillon - Building a snowman gives me greater joy than skiing
‘You are good enough. You have the power, the strength, the ability to achieve whatever it is you want to make in life.’
O – Only comparison should be done with yourself
“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.” - Shannon L Alder
We all suffer from comparison sickness; forever measuring the reality of ourselves against what we imagine about everyone else. We start convincing ourselves that we won’t be good enough until we have more than someone else does, or until we achieve something greater than they have. In our minds, we create an ‘us against them’ atmosphere that makes it impossible to ever feel like enough because inevitably there is always someone out there with more than us. The truth of the matter is that while we are acutely aware of our shortcomings, we rarely see the mistakes of others though we see their achievements and successes. People are always in more pain than you realise against comparing your ugly truth with another’s carefully crafted facade. But, if you are still bent on ‘comparing’, then compare yourselves with people who are less fortunate than you and then you will be content that you are doing much better than them.
A neighbour’s story: While in Abu Dhabi, a neighbour of mine always used to waive and wish me a good day in the mornings as he got into his Four Wheel Drive to go to his Office. He used to live on the second floor and I was put up on the fourth floor of the same residential building. I used to kind of envy him as he was a Manager in a Company for many years and seem to be doing exceptionally well. After a couple of years of waving and inviting to each other’s houses which never materialised, one evening of 2003 he came to my apartment. He had forgotten his house keys in his office and thus was forced to wait for his wife to return from her workplace. His story was from rags to riches and his journey to reach to the top was another tale in itself. Having lost his father at the age of 13 and the eldest of 4 siblings, he was the bread winner of the family who had come to the gulf at a young age. Pursuing his studies by working at the same time, he had come the long hard way.
Don’t compare your life to others and don’t judge them. You have absolutely no idea what their journey is about. The only person we should ever compare and compete is with ourselves with the person we were yesterday. Everyone’s situations are totally different in life which makes that the only accurate comparison to measure you against. By focusing solely on becoming a better person today than the person you were yesterday, you will be far more productive. Be the change you want to see in yourself. Allow the future vision of you to be your hero. Be grateful for what you have. Stop comparing yourself with others and focus on how you can become the best version of you. Be your own Cheerleader!
O – Onus of Shame
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” - George Bernard Shaw
We have felt inadequate at different occasions on our life’s journey. We may not want to remember these times, but at the back of our mind they still exist. Instances in our life when we were exposed as not being good enough of what we think we should have been. Periods when we think now we should have done better. A childhood without any difficult memories is hard to imagine - memories of failing, striking out or not having the confidence to even try out.
My career story: I have chosen to publish this paper cut-out from the UAE English newspaper ‘Khaleej Times’ regarding a Seminar in Abu Dhabi Hilton in October 2005 as it inspires myself. My parents were grooming me to become a Civil Engineer, to follow in the footsteps of my dad. I did not do all that well in Science and Maths in SSLC and thus that fell through. Then they decided ‘Contractor’ would be a good option. Being the eldest, I did not want to join dad’s Consulting Engineering Firm for whatever reason. The Commerce line I chose with an intention of pursuing CA after my graduation, never even took off. In between, one of my friend’s dad offered me a position of ‘Field Officer’ in his Insurance Company where he was the General Manager. I declined the offer saying Insurance area is not my forte. Dr Leo D’Souza SJ, my Principal in College advised me that if I could pursue MA in English Literature, once I have completed my post-graduation in two years, the openings due to retirement of a few Professors in the Aloysian English Department would enable me to potentially get in. I merely said I will give it a thought! Tried my hand in practicing Law and that did not go anywhere. Then life took me to the Middle East. Getting into the UAE Central Bank, enrolled for a banking degree, ACIB (Associate Certified Institute of Bankers, London) cleared two papers and then discontinued as there came another twist. I felt like an idiot and I must have asked myself innumerable times: Being so indecisive, am I good enough for anything in life? In my thirties, I was still searching for a career.
Meanwhile, 9/11 occurred and it became mandatory at the level of the United Nations that every nation needs to set up an FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit) to fight the menace of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing. With my legal background, I got into that Unit within the Bank. I pursued and completed CAMS, the highest Certification in financial crime detection and prevention conferred by ACAMS, Miami, Florida, United States. I was amongst the first 500 professionals’ worldwide when I completed the professional qualification in 2004. This took me places as I was elevated as one of the Key Speakers of the FIU representing the country amongst other things. My career finally took off! When I arrived in Australia in 2006, there were only half a dozen of us with a qualification in this field and that gave me a kick start.
We’ve all experienced times where we’ve had a false sense of insecurity in ourselves. Too often we are our own worst critics. When circumstances of life don’t go the way we hoped for, we often allow them to make us think less of ourselves. We end up questioning our own talents and abilities. The more we engage in doing work that forwards a cause, the better we feel about ourselves and the more success we will find. Instead of blaming yourself for messing up and stumbling backward, give yourself a pat on the back for trying, making progress and coming as far as you have. Embrace and make peace with where you are and your journey towards something new will feel much more peaceful, rewarding and satisfying.
D – Desiring to take control
“Have more than you show and speak less than you know.” - William Shakespeare
Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with. A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed. It means you conquered the pain, learnt a lesson, grew stronger and moved forward. A scar is the tattoo of a triumph. So, don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage. Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear. You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them.
Interview with Film Stars: In January 1987, a film troupe made St Aloysius College Campus their home for 3 months to shoot for their Tamil movie ‘Chinna Poove Mella Pesu’ (Please speak, little flower) which went on to become a box office hit. Get on to the YouTube link to get a feel of the story and captivating pictures of St Aloysius Institutions and its Campus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5maXFECWKsw. In the capacity of Editor-in-Chief of the College Wall Magazine ‘Co-Life’ at that time, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Directors duo of Robert-Rajasekar and lead actors Prabhu (son of veteran actor Sivaji Ganesan) and Sudha Chandran in Hotel Moti Mahal where they were put up on separate occasions. The story of Sudha in particular is an inspiration to us all.
In June 1981, at the tender age of 16, following a road accident while travelling in Tamil Nadu, Sudha lost her right leg due to medical negligence. Getting into dancing from the age of three and a half, this was a big blow but she did not lose hope. With the help of a prosthetic Jaipur foot, by sheer perseverance, she returned to dancing after a gap of two years and performed in the Middle East, Europe and Canada. She did not let a fatal accident come in the way of achieving her dreams. It is a fitting tribute that her biography is a part of curriculum for kids. Taking Sudha Chandran’s example, sky is the limit.
Our negative thoughts, the ones we entertain are the greatest threat to our future success. If our past circumstances dictate who we have the potential of being in the future, we are all tied to the consequences of yesterday’s happenings for the rest of our lives. Just believe, believe in yourself just like Sudha Chandran did. Have the guts, the courage, to step out and go after whatever it is you want to achieve. You are good enough!
Our family friends - The O’Briens on a fishing adventure, Luke trying his luck
‘No day is ever wasted when you live it with purpose and presence. Need to value and enjoy the journey, even when there are detours along the way.’
You have been a living prisoner of your own walls that you have built around you for your insecurities. It’s time to break free! Free yourself of the self-berating, let your true self breathe a little fresh air and allow yourself to celebrate who you are. When you do this, you open the doors to true abundance and your life will flood you with love, compassion, understanding, choices, options and doors of opportunity.
Take off the lens that says you’re not good enough – you’ll discover a whole new world with new possibilities with you in them.’ Bring it on….
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