Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sending Some Brightness Your Way

I've been quite mean lately.... to myself.

I think it's wonderful to push yourself, stretch your limits. But there is a balance between expecting more from yourself and being content with how far you have come.

This thought didn't come to me suddenly. In fact, it took a collection of people---my boyfriend, classmate, and last night, my dean---to say the exact same words: "You beat yourself up a lot."

Of course they're right. There's this frightened girl residing in me and it's almost as though I keep validating her worst fears, insisting that she isn't enough.

What a bully I am!

This is how I have always been, to an extent. I place self worth on grades or relationships or hours spent studying or writing.
I think a lot of us place validation on the external and tangible, without realizing it.

I shouldn't have needed others to be a proverbial mirror but that's just the way it is sometimes, right? We can get so tangled up in our own actions---heck, in our own thoughts---that we miss patterns. Good patterns. Lethal patterns. And all of the ones in between.

I may not be able to see all these tendencies but I can bottle them up when others do. I can tighten the cap, tuck it into a safe place in my soul, and retrieve it when I am berating myself.

Last night, my dean asked, "Aren't we all just trying to make meaning out of everything?"

The question was so simple and liberating. But it struck the core of why we are all driven to do. Words give meaning. Art gives meaning. Conversations give meaning.

And if I'm blessed enough to derive this meaning from so many facets of life, then there is no need to keep pointing so much criticism inwards. Because I am receiving the worth of what is thrown my way.

So, here's to an apology to myself, a promise to cherish the meaning that weaves itself through each day, and a hope that you do the same :)


  1. I do this to myself too. I think women are more prone to bullying themselves than men. I wonder why that is? This post is a wonderful reminder to enjoy the little things that make me who I am.

    I hope things are going well with you, Saumya! And I hope your novel is coming along great!

  2. It's true we try to find meaning in so many things. And sometimes, it can be just too much.

    In the words of Oliver Wendell Jones from the Bloom County cartoons, sometimes you just have to "wallow in the mundanity of a chocolate chip cookie."

    That's as existential as I get today!

  3. Sending blessings your way. It's not good to beat yourself up. And, here you go, I'm whispering in somebody else's ear, "I like Saumya's blog." ;)

  4. those 'best things' are worth remembering... equally as important as 'performing'

  5. What a great message to be heard. I struggle a LOT with the same thing. Especially in my writing. It took a near meltdown last week to finally shake myself through. I feel better now, and have been much kinder to myself. Baby steps...or as Anne Lammott would say--"Bird by Bird." Take care. :)

  6. it doesn't matter where the idea leading to this self realization comes from, you got it, and that is most important. When the time comes, the right person always comes and says the right thing to us. Wishing the very best, always be happy, as your name suggests.

  7. Like Laura said, I think women are more prone to this than men (I could speculate about feminism leading to women thinking they can/should do everything but I won't go off on one) and writers in particular suffer from this too. When you invest time in doing a solitary task you can zero in so much that you can't see the forest for the trees and external validation becomes the measuring stick: agents, editors, book deals, book sales, the NYT bestseller list.

    This was really thought provoking, Saumya, and a great reminder to enjoy the process (of writing, of life) instead of just trying to get somewhere!
    - Sophia.

  8. To remember we are defined by what we do, not what we accomplish is so important in a world where 'hurry' mentality is prevalent. Seeing this is the start to be present again in life, and you've done that!

  9. We all do this, it is liberating to just let go something though. :)

  10. Hi Saumya..we are indeed trying to make meanings out of everything in this chaotic world. Thanks for this lovely post.

  11. Kindros, yes it is liberating to let something go!

    Rachna, I loved your post on layering and subplots. It's really helped me plan out my final chapters. Thanks :)

  12. We face enough crap in the world - don't add to it! You're an awesome person. Learn to belive that.

  13. Silence gives meaning too!

    Self-flagellation never does any good to oneself. Doubting doesn't do either. Just remembering that we are humans and prone to mistakes will make it much easier on us. After all, hindsight is 20/20 :D
    Isn't it?

  14. You have given me an idea for a post but, then again, you do that a lot.

    Very good post and thank you once more for recent blog comments. Your presence is always charming, warm, and welcome.

  15. I know exactly what you mean.. I struggle with this too. Thank you for the reminder, and I'm glad you're working through it. Don't be so hard on yourself :)

  16. We all tend to be hard on ourselves at times. We need others to help us put things in perspective.

    I'm amazed at all you do! You shouldn't ever be hard on yourself:)!

  17. I absolutely LOVED this Saumaya!
    I beat myself up a lot too, ad my manager even told me that the other day!
    Thanks for this lovely post!

  18. I loved that list of the best things in life. I agree with all of them! Glad a few poeple pointed out to you that you were beating yourself up too much. Those are good friends, indeed.

  19. Great list of the best things in life you compiled there and good luck with balancing medical school with the desire to write. Amazing challenges for an amazing person.

  20. I definitely beat myself up a lot - even now, I think I deserve it, so you're absolutely right about that!

    Love the list at the end, so many great things on there!