The Fear of Stupidity
Whether it be a question in class or general discourse among peers, it’s not easy to express yourself within a public forum.
Whether sitting in class or watching someone struggle with a question, it’s not always easy to express yourself in a public forum. That’s what answering a question is: it’s putting yourself out there. You’re letting it be publicly known that you’re confident enough to produce an intelligent answer or opinion.
But what happens if you get the answer wrong? What if you can’t respond to a rebuttal? I imagine it’s something to the equivalent of a Jenga tower tumbling down and each of the blocks weighing over a ton each, crushing every bone in every finger on both hands. It’s painful.
Dealing With My Fears
As with most people, I’ve experienced moments where I’ve been wrong about something; I’m just now trying to reconcile these feelings of regret or humiliation. I’ve answered questions wrong, worked on projects that didn’t result in the best outcomes, and failed in relationships. Just now, I am starting to unveil my true worth; I’m jumping at the opportunity to help address my thoughts and opinions without fear of neglect or being shut down. There’s a certain type of confidence that makes you ready to answer.
For so long, I’ve been a lover of technology. I’m talking non-tech-grad level, ask-Google-type person. Many times, I knew what was needed to help, but I completely refrained from volunteering because I didn’t want to take that leap of faith.
Confidence was a major factor. Over the past year, I’ve really felt myself come into my own. I’m wearing what I want to wear and acting how I want to; all of this works to my success. Confidence truly forges a pathway of enjoyment and creativity. I can explore my thoughts and creativity by jumping at opportunities I wouldn’t normally go for.
Experiencing new things opens up my mind to new people and scenarios.
Fear Can Control Our Every Move
Holding things in may feel like the right answer at the moment, but I promise you it isn’t. Limiting your audience to the walls of your membrane only gives you the feedback of one person: you. This type of dialogue is too meaningful to be restricted to your mind. You deserve to have your thoughts and feelings heard.
Refraining from guessing means not taking the leap.
Without taking the leap, how can you say you tried?
If you’re not going to try, you’re essentially creating a lifestyle of coasting.
It all comes down to confidence. But where does that flower bloom?
For me, high school was different from my undergrad. The teachers forge relationships with students over the years. But with your undergrad, you’re completely isolated in personable communication, even if you take the time to go to their office after lectures.
Reconciling the Public Perception
I don’t know about you, but high school drove me to be massively self-conscious, so much so that my every move was manufactured to not trigger a reaction from a classmate. I wanted to merely blend in with the crowd and coast.
Gaining the Confidence to Express Yourself
This kind of points to my desire to continue wanting to learn. You may not realize that the ability to learn is a privilege. Regardless of elementary or university, getting to expand our skills and mindset is the truest gift of life. We must keep enabling the inquisition that lives deep in our souls. We must keep thinking and asking questions because refraining from any form of inquiry limits our learning and development. If we take our mistakes as results, we allow them to overpower us and our future.
I look back at the moments when I was the most nervous person about answering questions I knew the answer to. I wish I were so much more confident.
My mind took me to a place where I didn’t want my presence to be felt. This is especially sad because all throughout my childhood, I loved talking in class and getting to learn. I just wouldn’t shut up. Don’t you think there’s this weird shift between childhood and teenhood where you begin stripping the layers of uniqueness to conform to the greater majority of your classmates? I didn’t want my thoughts, opinions, or anything for that matter to be heard. That is the effect of low self-esteem.
What Stupidity Really Is
Don’t get me wrong, I do not have to be picture-perfect. Have you seen my nose? I’m just saying that I still want to achieve some form of perfection within my means. I want to be my best. Tripping up, especially in front of people I trust and respect, is hard.
I’m no longer worried. Yes, I could be and will continue to be wrong. But I am the decider of how I feel. I am the one who will learn from my mistakes. The light at the end of the tunnel will not dim for me; I’m determined to keep it bright.
Feeling the Failures to the Fullest
To be wrong is not to be right. Simply stated, but what exactly does that entail? Being wrong is almost like admitting weakness, whether by choice or not. You attempted, but you weren’t enough. It feels like a character flaw in many ways. The real downside to this thinking is that it limits success by influencing you never to try again.
I’ve doubted my potential many times throughout my life; from when I wasn’t fit for a specific job opportunity or not academically apt in school, I ended up with a mindset where I felt I lacked the qualities required to succeed.
I’m in a family of intelligent people: kinesiologists, nurses, accountants, and engineers. Not being able to fit the mould set me on my way to insecurity avenue in my teenhood. I watched as my cousins thrived in both academia and athletics. Meanwhile, I spent my days watching reality TV or looking up places to stay in New York City.
My dreams were huge: I wanted to work in advertising with big agencies and help with major ad campaigns. As I got older, I realized that my talent was not as sharp as I had expected; my light began to dim. I had a lot to learn. But I also began minimizing my goals quite a bit.
Fun fact: I applied to NYU before completing high school. The kindest part of all this is that my high school teacher, whom I had asked for a letter of recommendation (on the last day of her week before vacation), and my guidance counsellor made me feel that I was truly worthy. Looking back, I laugh because THERE WAS NO FUCKING WAY I WAS GETTING INTO NEW YORK UNIVERSITY WITH MY SHIT GRADES. I didn’t even take the SATs. It’s also important to note that I am a Canadian citizen, so I would’ve likely needed to take some exams (WHICH I DEFINITELY KNOW I DIDN’T).
The moment sticks with me because people’s belief in you can push your motivation and desire to succeed even higher.
I feel like I spent this entire blog rambling. My god, I hope I didn’t. If anything, I didn’t want to skip over the key points of my journey to self-love and acceptance.
Devaluing yourself is much easier than many will admit. It is as easy as downplaying your intellect to erase your thoughts and opinions. Our thoughts, ideas, and feelings are what make us unique. We all have this unique perspective that, most times, deserves to see fruition.
Look at me now. I’m at a place in my life where I do want my thoughts and opinions to be heard. And that is sort of how this blog arose.