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How many of you suffer from lack of self-worth? How many of us play the blame game when it comes to our performance? In short, how often do you fall prey to the impostor syndrome?

Impostor syndrome is a belief that negates the self. It’s the belief that you are not good enough and everything you’ve achieved is through a stroke of luck. In short, you honestly believe that you are inadequate and a complete failure.

Perfectionists and Type A personalities are particularly prone to this (check the first one in the link above). I’ve mostly tried to steer clear of the perfectionist trap, but it’s tough. Some days you fall into it no matter how hard you try otherwise.

Parenting is especially hard when you’re bombarded by so many expectations at once. Most of these are self-created, by the way. Some of them are helped along by what we see around us. So you can either get completely overwhelmed and exhaust yourself, like I outlined in my confessions post. Or, you can write down a list of positive self-affirmations and tack them up somewhere to read on a daily basis.

The first is easy. The second, to be honest, is very difficult for most people.


People are far more likelyΒ to find out what’s wrong with themselves and brood on it than think of the positives. It’s why they fall into the victim mentality and from there, the impostor syndrome is a few treacherous steps away.

Most people who know me, either personally or through the blog, would say that I’m a positive person. I am, most of the time. But I have these spells of self-doubt. I look at my self-worth on the days when I don’t have it all together and wonder if I’m just screwing up my kid, big time. Last week was particularly bad. I’d just found myself in this slump as a parent and was ticking off all the ways that I was failing at it.

*Not something I would recommend on any day, especially on a day when you’ve been sleep deprived and exhausted to the bone.

Then, something happened. Something that would change my perspective on who I was and what I was worth.

[bctt tweet=”How a school assignment taught me a lesson in self worth. #Lifelessons ” username=”shyvish”]

Gy was assigned a topic to speak on, as part of a school assignment. It was titled ‘My mother; my inspiration.’ While this greatly warmed the cockles of my heart, it also threw me into a mild panic.

What could I say about myself that wouldn’t come off as self-serving, boastful or hypocritical? How could I help her without sounding patronising or worse?

There was only one way to find out. Taking a deep breath, I opened the conversation on the subject with her.

She sat there, pencil poised over a notepad and asked, ‘Amma, how do you inspire me? You have to tell me. I don’t know, you see. I’m at school all day.’

‘You know how you read about a famous person or a visionary?’

‘Like Gandhi?’

‘Precisely! So, Gandhi inspired many people through his non-violence, the civil disobedience movement, his affinity to truth and more.’

She screwed up her eyebrows. ‘Hmm. But you’re not Gandhi. I mean, you haven’t done any of those things.’

Okay, this was not off to a good start! And it certainly wasn’t helping my feeling of inadequacy. So I asked her to write down things about me that she liked.

‘Can you help me?’

‘It’s supposed to be what you like about me. Go on and try.’

She started writing a few things and then went in search of her ally, her dad, to help her out with pointers. Fifteen minutes passed and she came back, eyes shining, saying, ‘I think I’ve got it. But I have a doubt.’

‘Sure. What do you need?’

‘Well, Appa says you have a great sense of humour. Is that true?’

‘Er. . .’

‘Tell me a joke. Now. So I can decide.’

‘It doesn’t work that way. I need . . . time.’

She raised an eyebrow, made a note in her book and walked off to draft her speech. Dang it! Now I didn’t even know what to expect. Shrugging, I turned back to my Kindle, reading a book about a man who was particularly curmudgeonly. For some reason, I could relate to his angst on that day! (A book I highly recommend, by the way).

The speech was supposed to last a minute and a half, so she brought back 2 pages of text. I was surprised that there was so much, considering there was nothing half an hour ago. As I glanced at the notes, my eye fell on the highlights my husband had listed on the top of the page in his classic, signature scrawl.

  • Excellent blogger and editor.
  • Love and passion for the English language.
  • Never loses her calm with you. Self-control is admirable.
  • Great sense of humour.
  • Always helpful towards others.

Gy had taken each of these points and expanded on them in her speech. It made me tear up. As awkward as it was to sit there and hear ‘My mother inspires me to . . .’, it did make me feel all warm inside.

After she’d taken my tips on delivery and grammar, I sat there, looking at the highlights again. In his own way, quiet and unassuming as it was, V had shown me and Gy the importance of self-worth. If people who love you think these things about you, then isn’t it equally important that you believe them too?

It was a reminder that we may think the worst of ourselves, but the truth is completely different. We touch people in ways we don’t even realise. We share truths about their character, sometimes thanks to a school assignment. We express our love for one another, not in overt, obvious ways but in scribbled notes that touch upon our strengths.

It’s also a reminder that, as women, we need to talk about ourselves better. We must celebrate our strengths, play up our positives and be an example for the kids we raise. We must focus on the things we do well and enjoy the happiness that comes from a job well done. We can’t be superwomen, but we can feel pride at what we’re good at.

Affirmations are powerful things. We just don’t know it. One simple assignment proved that my impostor syndrome wasn’t necessary.Β Self-worth is a critical fragment of our personalities. Let’s not let anything take that away from us.

Why self worth is most crucial for us to develop

*Featured photos courtesy: Shutterstock

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Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Obsessivemom · August 13, 2017 at 10:09 pm

Aw I love the points your husband listed out. And I have benefited from that last one many times. You’re so right about self worth – something I struggle with all the time. Such assignments should just be made compulsory for all children, I say.
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    Shailaja · August 13, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Aww thanks, Tulika πŸ™‚ Also thanks for being the first comment on the post. I was beginning to wonder if I was invisible πŸ˜‰

    As for the assignment, why not set this yourself for the kids at home? Maybe you’ll enjoy what they come up with.

      Obsessivemom · August 14, 2017 at 6:35 am

      Ha ha I so know that invisible feeling. Happens if you post on weekends.

Sulekha · August 14, 2017 at 12:20 am

You have summed up your post so beautifully. We must celebrate what we do well and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment on doing a good job. Little things make a big difference in people’s lives. Some days a smile from a stranger has brightened my day :). Love what your husband wrote about you. You are one lucky lady, and he cooks too πŸ™‚

Nabanita Dhar · August 14, 2017 at 9:35 am

You know ever since I have rejoined work post maternity leave, I have been feeling particularly low in terms of my self-worth. Every time something doesn’t go my way, I go down that road of asking myself ‘Am I worth it?’ and the answer more often than not turns out to be in the negative. And then it’s the positive affirmations that come in handy.
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Rachna · August 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

So true. We all hit our self-doubt phases and then validations from the loved ones is sure to cheer us. I think it is a good idea to do this exercise with all family members once in a while. It’s fun and serves a larger purpose as well.
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Vishal Bheeroo · August 14, 2017 at 6:51 pm

I agree: A woman should celebrate her unique identity and emotions. Not every day is perfect. Your lil one and husband showed how awesome you are Shailaja. I enjoyed reading this innocent conversation. At the end of the day we are humans.

Lata Sunil · August 15, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Self worth is very important to every one especially women in our country who are shown they are worthless at every turn be it being born, education, higher studies and even choice of a career, even whether to have a career. It will stop so many depression and suicide cases. Good one Shy.

Rajlakshmi · August 15, 2017 at 6:18 pm

Love Love Love this post. And I want to give Gy a tight hug for being so sweet and compassionate. Her innocence is so endearing and and your family loves you so much. All of you are such darlings πŸ˜€ Though I did crack when she said that you are not Gandhi. Hahahaha πŸ˜›

As for self worth, I have this simple belief that every one on this planet is worthy and have some skill or the other. Else they wouldn’t have survived. By extrapolation of that belief, I too am worthy. πŸ™‚ There is no reason otherwise πŸ™‚

Soumya · August 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Awww aren’t V and Gy super adorable? πŸ™‚

Thankfully, I haven’t had an issue with self-worth until now. I’ve always believed that I work really hard and everything that comes my way is well deserved. Maybe it will change once I become a parent. Considering how competitive the parenting world is out there I know people only want to prove the other wrong. Hopefully I’ll survive that too.

I hope Gy’s speech went very well and you were right there in the first row beaming with pride. I can so imagine your flushed cheeks πŸ˜€
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Shilpa Gupte · August 18, 2017 at 12:26 pm

There are times I suffer from the Impostor Syndrome. And, I know precisely the days when I suffer from it. I hit at myself (mentally, of course!), curse myself for being such a worthless, good-for-nothing and then shed a few tears, etc. Then, after the storm passes by, I come back to my senses, review the past years and realise that I am really not that bad, after all! I don’t receive confirmations like you do, but, I give myself some positive self-talk and regain my confidence and my composure. Good for you to have Gy to let you know what an amazing woman you are! You really don’t need to look far for some morale boosting, Shy! <3
Hugs to Gy!
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Joyce Blass · January 17, 2018 at 3:22 pm

I sometimes question my self-worth and then that leads me to overthinking. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m really thankful for this kind of posts, they keep on reminding me and the others that we aren’t the only one feeling that way.

    Shailaja · January 18, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts πŸ™‚

Yudith · May 5, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Your story made me tear up as well, your husband is right you are an excellent writer. Inspirational post on celebrating our strengths and embracing self worth . Great way of defining beliefs of not being good enough, beliefs of inadequacy and beliefs of being a failure as the impostor syndrome. It is the syndrome of self-judgment. I am also prone to it and working to embrace more self worth.

    Shailaja · May 6, 2018 at 6:40 am

    Yes impostor syndrome can be a killer! It’s important to do affirmative exercises often for our own benefit. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it!

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