When I was young I struggled academically. I was haunted by the need to live up to my father and grandfather’ expectations. My grandfather was a highly educated and accomplished doctor and my father an engineer. Coming from lineage of successful Bangladeshi men, the pressure ate at me.
In high school I flourished academically only to be derailed by bad teenage judgment and witnessing my father suffer a major heart attack. My immature mind found reasons to further hinder myself from pursuing an education.
I used my dad’s health scare to justify my reasoning for not pursuing academia early on. I used to say, “I do not want to work in an office. It will all amount to me dying.” This was a cop out. After high school I entered community college passively even though I had been accepted into reputable universities.
But I wanted to make money, and so I entered into the life of a salesman.
As a salesman, I got by with just enough to make a decent living for myself. However many issues haunted me. It ate at me everyday.
First, I did not finish my education until later. The second is a lot deeper.
I refused to see the real problem. I struggled with a lot of inner issues in my late teens to my late twenties. I can now finally come to terms with my vulnerability.
I recently watched a TED video by Amanda Palmer, a lyricist/composer. She stood on stage describing a profound way of thinking that has helped her succeed in music but also in life.
She says it all boils down to trust.
I have always boasted my strength as an individual that can accept what the world gives me. I would say, “I do not worry about anything, because as long as you trust yourself, than trust in others isn’t important.”
This has truth, but it also speaks volumes of the insecurity that has been the source of my problems.
The false confidence that I carried did not allow myself to be open to the help of others. I had an ego.
As a salesman, what bothered me the most was I sold a product or service to an individual or business, but tried to get the most money I could for it. I was not able to do this well, especially upselling if I knew that they did not need extra services or features.
My conscience felt I was ripping off someone. That is actually is how I felt about myself as a person too.
I felt that I did not have anything to offer anyone if they helped me. I could not name a price for my efforts for others. I thought it was my gift to humanity to help others or to say yes to things I did not want to do.
Paul Coehlo has a quote, “If you say ‘yes’ to someone, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” This is true, if you continuously sacrifice your wants for others, eventually those yes’s that you give others build resentment inside yourself.
That is the story of my life. A strong reason I lacked discipline in my life and found ways to justify it. I did not realize my self-worth. I sacrificed my time for others, instead of focusing on myself. I do not have anything to show for it, except maybe life experiences.
It is a damaging cycle I went through. My need to be loved and accepted would lead me to make impulsive decisions that would hurt individuals and me.
I taught myself that the exchange between two individuals, whether in services, support, or monetary is nothing to be ashamed of. To be able to feel comfortable as a human being, relationships have to be reciprocal.
I had such an ego for so long, that I never knew how to tell people “I” at times was the one who needed to make decisions for myself or plainly needed help.
I am still learning how to ask for help.
I don’t ask for help because of the fear that I am not like the strong men in my family. When this false pride kicks in I remember that in asking for help there is nothing wrong with being exposed and that I should not feel ashamed if I don’t have everything under control.
I continue on the journey of fearlessly giving and receiving. It is an anxiety that I could not come to terms with for many years. But once I realized that if you continue to be a certain way it leads to deeper resentment and hinders your progress, you change.
That is a moment of clarity I now carry with me.
At times there are going to be people, even those close around you, that are struggling with the same issue, they might not see it. Your decisions may hurt those who do not understand this transaction. You have to remind yourself to be fearless and there are those that will support you. Even if you connect with a few, the love is just enough.