SPECIAL TO THE TIMES KUWAIT
Have you heard the expression ‘you are your own biggest critic’? The reason that expression is widely known is because it is unequivocally true. We all have very complicated relationships with our inner selves and for each of you reading this, it stems from different issues and root causes: childhood trauma, genetic predispositions, and various life experiences.
I have observed the way this pandemic has affected my wellbeing and I have observed how so many people around me continue to struggle with emotions of stress, anxiety, inadequacy, and self-doubt. I would like to clarify that I am not a licensed professional nor am I qualified to be churning out life advice.
I am simply a woman who works tirelessly every day to practice self-love, self-awareness and mindfulness towards herself and others.
That is the greater point I wish to make through this piece of writing. My biggest source of insecurity is how others may or may not perceive me. How others may or may not comment on me. How others may or may not talk about me. We shape so much of how we view ourselves based on how we think others see us. The real question is, how do you see yourself?
Do you see yourself as someone worthy of love? Do you see yourself as someone who deserves acceptance? And perhaps, most importantly, do you see yourself as good enough?
Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a delightful young woman named Fatima (an alias). Fatima is 26 years old and works as a content editor for a local publishing company. I was truly impressed by her natural charisma, her effortless charm, and her quick wit. We spoke for hours about her ambitions after graduating from university with a degree in journalism. Her dream was to work for a highly reputable newspaper such as The Guardian or The New York Times.
When discussing her dreams, Fatima’s face did not light up, instead it dimmed down. I compelled her to tell me why her dreams do not excite her. Her response was “because they simply won’t come true.”
At this point of the story, I wish I could tell you that a few days after our meeting Fatima got a call from the organization of her dreams with a job offer but of course, that is not how life works. What propelled me to share this story with you was how baffled I was.
Fatima is only 26 years old and yet she has already given up on herself. And I imagine many of you must feel the same way. And you carry these thoughts with you for years and years without ever breaking free from them, and what started out as a singular negative thought in your mind manifested itself to become your living reality.
So why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we carry on with our lives thinking there are things that are attainable and things that are not? In an increasingly globalized world, where the voices of intelligent women like Fatima are given more and more opportunities to shine, she still felt undeserving and unable to pursue her goals.
The truth is, I am guilty of this type of mindset as well. But we all have opportunities to learn and grow and it is never too late. After listening to Fatima, I shared with her the following pointers which I hope you will consider too before you decide to give up on yourself.
All it takes is one door to open: Sometimes, we grow tired of pursuing one opportunity after the next, especially as we find ourselves deterring farther and farther away from our original goals and ambitions. Sometimes it is easier to say no when a new opportunity comes along because we do not want to take that risk. Unless there is a high likelihood for you to be harmed by pursuing a particular option, your answer to new things should always be Yes.
Say yes to new experiences, say yes to new friends, say yes to new projects, say yes to new places, just say yes. The cautious adult in you will tempt you to say no, the homebody in you will tempt you to stay at home instead of going out to meet new people, but the writer of this article is pleading with you to just go for it.
Your past is not an indicator of your future: Our past is a great reference point for us, we must never run away from it. However, we must avoid repeating mistakes and we must commit to grow and develop as we move forward in life. Moreover, if you have not been successful in your attempts at work or personal relationships or other projects in the past, that does not mean that you are destined to fail. It simply means you need to adjust your approach and move forward with this wealth of knowledge that you have accumulated from these valuable experiences.
Do not take rejection personally: I believe words can have a healing effect on others, they certainly have that effect on me. If you are experiencing any type of rejection as you read this, whether personal or professional, I want you to believe me when I tell you… you are worthy, you are deserving and you matter. Rejection hurts, it can have a tight grip on your heart and eat you up on the inside.
You are left with so many questions which, more often than not, are left unanswered. There is no easy fix, there is no healing solution, there is only time and acceptance. Acceptance is the antidote of rejection. Since they have rejected you, you must accept and love yourself now more than ever.
Understand what you can and cannot change: Your dreams will not become a reality simply because you wish them so. You have to put in the effort, time and resources to create the life of your dreams. You may reach a certain point where the life you imagined for yourself seems unrealistic or that you may need to recalibrate your goals to reach an amended version of your original aspirations. Does that mean you failed? Absolutely not.
There is no straightforward path to success. It takes bumps, bruises, and several crossroads to get to where you want to go. It also takes a strong sense of adaptability towards change. My dreams changed drastically as I continued to evolve and grow throughout my journey, but my ultimate end goal has not — creating and leaving a positive impact on mankind through the work that I do.
And with that, I conclude this piece to you with one simple wish. To all my Fatimas, to all my dreamers who have given up far too soon, to all the heartbroken: I wish for you to know how lovely you truly are.
Nourah Al-Oseimi is a Kuwaiti writer who holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Nourah has worked in different places such as the Central Bank of Kuwait and the United Nations. She serves as a free-lance contributing journalist to The Times Kuwait. If you would like to share your thoughts or get in touch with Nourah, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org