Tag Archives: moral

Needing Validation

Why is it that sometimes… no matter how many mountains I climb, or how many oceans I sail, or how many bridges I burn I don’t see myself the way I want to. No matter how hard I try I can’t seem to rise to a place where I want to be. It’s like the mountains keep on growing, and day by day I become smaller and smaller.

It’s like I’m stuck in this little plateau and the only thing I can do is jump off it. I could crash, or I could fly. The latter seems more likely. But I am at that point where pain seems like a better option than this feeling of being empty. At least that way I’ll feel something. The numbness creeps up on my skin and takes a hold of my being, making me feel like a hollow body without a soul.

I feel like no matter how many accomplishments I kiss, no matter how many victories I embrace, I won’t ever be satisfied because my heart is not content. I feel like I need validation from people close to me like a child in preschool needs validation from a teacher. I need the people around me to tell me I’m doing a good job because that’s the only way I’ll be convinced. I need people to tell me I’m good for me to believe it, which is bad because when I don’t get the validation I plunge into this hole of self-doubt.

I can look in the mirror and chant, “I’m amazing. I’m beautiful. I’m awesome,” day and night, but I won’t believe it, not until someone comes and tells me those things. The people around me don’t realize but their words have a huge impact on me. Sometimes their words hit like knives and bullets and sometimes they act as a salve. Even the tiniest gesture or a simple sentence could hit like a bomb and I would find myself thinking about it for the next eon.

A person could come and tell me I’m a psychopath and I would believe them because my brain is wired to listen to the outside voices, rather than the voices in my head. This is one of the most toxic traits you can have because it leads directly toward self-destruction and that’s the one thing I’m good at. Destroying myself. The worst form of abuse is the one that comes from within because at the moment you become your biggest enemy and there’s nowhere to run.

If someone told me I was ugly, I would agree with them and I would feel uncomfortable in my own skin and if someone told me I was beautiful, I would make myself believe that I’m worthy of being on the cover of Vogue magazine. Sounds stupid. I know.

Imagine having a computer and you need to reset it or fix it. The first thing you’ll need to do is turn it off, then take out the wires, untangle them and plug them back in. You might even have to reboot it. It takes effort and time, and fear that your ‘useful’ information will be lost with all the useless information.
That’s how rewiring your brain is like. You have to detangle yourself and, in the process, you might even cause more damage, but the best thing is that every form of damage is reversible and curable.

Rewiring your brain is hard. It’s not, ‘oh let me shut my brain off and turn it back on like a computer.’ It’s more of ‘oh shit, this was wrong’ or ‘oh snap I should’ve done that,’ but that’s how you learn. That’s how you progress. That’s how you break bad habits, by replacing them with good ones.

I’m working on myself, by making amends and filling in holes that I have because I was too busy doubting myself. Too busy looking for someone else’s approval. I’ve started listening to that soft voice in the back of my head now. It’s not always nice, but it’s there… dim… and barely audible.

Is giving up an option?

Every time I’m at the verge of giving up, my mom slaps sense into me.

Literally.

Her hand is so heavy that she could send me back to Pakistan with the flick of her finger. But every time I say, “I can’t do this.” She makes that face where she clenches her jaw and her eyebrows knit together and she shakes her head.

“A warrior riding a horse has the ability to fall,
not an infant who’s barely learned how to crawl.”

She says the quote in Urdu with such authority that I get goosebumps. I try to argue with her, but she whips out another quote or poem that gives me a surge of confidence, but it lasts as long as her words do. I get the poetic genes from my mom and the storytelling genes from my dad. It’s a weird combination, but it works out for me.

Every time I fail, mama tells me the story of Queen Saleena. I’ve altered the story so many times in my mind, to fit my needs, that I can’t recall how the original one started.

Queen Saleena, the Fifth Emperor of Halacin was a tough leader. She would make the earth rumble with her presence. People feared her, but they wanted her throne. They believed that a woman was incapable of ruling a kingdom as big as Halacin. But the Queen held so much power in the tips of her fingers that everyone feared her.

One day, all the emperors of all the other Kingdoms came together and decided to overthrow Queen Saleena. They gathered their armies, collected their soldiers and went straight for the palace. Queen Saleena was taken off guard, her advisors turned against her and fought her out of her kingdom.

Queen Saleena being brutally wounded and hurt fled from the battlefield and ran into the deadly forest. There she sat under a tree and tended to her wounds. She couldn’t believe what had happened. How could someone a strong as her, be subjected to such weakness. The Queen wanted to give up, so she decided to leave Halacin and settle down in the mountains of Alani.

But as soon as she rose to her feet to flee, she saw a little bird with a broken wing, sitting on a tree branch, with a lion cub lingering beneath it. Every time the poor bird would try to fly, she would lose her balance and scurry back to the tree. She was afraid that if she fell the cub would eat her. The bird tried to escape, ten times, and each time she would give up and hide behind the branches.

The eleventh time, the bird didn’t care. She flew as high as she could, even though she squeaked because of the pain that her wing was causing her. But her flight didn’t last, and she was slowly descending to the ground. The cub saw the opportunity and leaped into the air to eat the bird. This time the bird didn’t run away, instead, she came down with force and slammed her beak into the cub’s eye with such intensity that the cub started bleeding. The cub became blind in one eye and ran away, disappearing into the forest. The bird then flapped her wings and with hustle reached her nest.

The Queen, seeing how brave the bird with the broken wing was, rose to her feet, took her sword and raced back to her kingdom, where she fought and won.

Queen Saleena does not exist but her story is powerful enough to shake mountains. My mother always says that giving up is never an option. Take another route, build a road, swim and drown, fall and crash…. But don’t ever give up.

Not now. Not ever.

Picture from Pexel