Teen Space

Get unstuck

Pair of sneakers inside a circle with colourful rays and stars outside

Many of us spend a large fraction of our lives feeling we’re not good enough. Thinking that we could or should do better. Hoping for things to be different. Dreaming that there is a better place for us — somewhere, anywhere. Wishing it could be easier. Wanting to move on. Yet entrapped in the same vicious circle of doubt, anxiety and distrust. We are drowning in thick mud and are unable to pull out. We stick to a sport without getting any better, we hang out with the same friends who burn our confidence, and struggle with the study plan not realising it’s not working. Simply, we feel stuck.

When did you last feel weightless, detached and free?

There are times in life when inertia appears to be the only thing really going on in life. The feeling of not getting anywhere with studies, friendships, family, relationships, career, health, and existence in general. Stagnation, however, is not always the same as feeling stuck. Taking a break, planning, preparing and practising are different from inactivity. Even if there is no active action, there can be a plan for combat. But when you are fighting to break free yet finding yourself hard impacted in the deep grime, it actually becomes a struggle. In reality it’s not the mud. We are the ones who are sticky and hence get trapped. How then unwittingly do we end up getting so stuck?

What makes us sticky?

  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Prejudice
  • Paranoia

Perfectionism: Perfect has always been the enemy of the good — even before 1770 when philosopher Voltaire made this statement. Perfect convinces good that good isn’t good enough. So good loses focus and gets paralysed with fear. And ends up getting sucked to the bottom of the whirlpool, becoming even smaller, lesser and more incomplete, until it ceases to exist. Perfect is subjective. Nobody else’s vision of perfect can match yours. The fact that perfect has so many faces itself makes perfect ‘imperfect’. We try to look perfect, write perfect, talk perfect, play perfect, make the perfect speech, perfect assignment, perfect project… and simply we just try to be perfect. In doing so we go around in circles, repeating ourselves, losing time, lowering our patience, enhancing frustration, and failing creativity. And we stay where we were. Stuck. Lost. Immobilized with indecision. It is important to strive for the good. Struggle to be better. Perfection will come inevitably.

  • Study because you want to.
  • Work on novel techniques.
  • Build newer skills always.
  • Be the best at getting better.

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Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.

Dr Shefali Batra

Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at drshefalibatra.com.