It was a Wednesday morning. My wristwatch showed 10.00 am. By the time I reached the bus stop, climbing down the stairs in a rush, skipping two stairs to save time, and navigating through a crowded street hoping that the bus driver might be late as well, my bus had already left. I realized that the bypass route to reach my office would be so congested that a private cab would not be able to help me reach the office on time. My hope to show up at the morning meeting was shattered. It is fair to mention here that this was the fourth time in a row that week when I was missing the morning meeting.
My mind crawled through the brain’s cache and projected consequences of a delayed day—questioning glances scanning a late-comer, unfinished works piling up, working overtime to clean up the queue, and totally exhausted by the time I would be in bed. Spending an entire day seemed an upheaval task for me. Amidst traffic, roads, and people, I found myself helpless.
My daily encounters with failure, be it missing the bus, not being able to reach the office on time despite my best intentions, unable to complete my work and to maintain a balance among responsibilities, and to not accomplish my plan, afflicted me. Slippages were tearing me up, wrapping me in a damp pouch of apprehension of failure. I was unable to figure out how I could realign my distorting life and find a breather for peace and happiness.
Inevitably, I chose to escape. Off-loading the failures on someone might help me find avenues for self-compassion. So, I looked for reasons for my unhappiness and failures—family, marriage, office, home, past, and aspirations. I started focusing more on the search for excuses. I looked up external ailments to heal my ruptures. My wound deepened. The lack of self-compassion turned my life outward-focused; nothing silenced my shapeless chaos.
I thought that being the center of attention would bring me happiness. I tried to live up to others’ expectations by altering my food habits, attires, and routines. My situation did not improve. Distraction was siphoning off my confidence and courage.
“Accept yourself. Start with a minimal accomplishment but make it a habit. It is okay to fail.” I found a person who understood my problems. My mentor’s relentless patience and empathy helped me empathize with myself.
It is said that “necessity is the mother of invention.” But unless we realize our core problem, the idiom barely makes sense. I realized that I had been facing an existential crisis.
Amidst noise and distraction, I heard my voice: “I am fine. Only I can make me happy.”
Self-compassion aided in healing my internal ruptures. I managed to focus on my priorities. Paying attention to the internal system improved my emotional state and efficiency. My performance soared eventually.
I achieved my faith in failure.
However, continuous juggling between household work and office vex me at times. Grief, frustration, and fear of drifting still bother me. Complaints still pile up in my heart and congest my head.
“Why do I need to indulge in household work? Just because I am a married woman. Yet, I am also earning, and my husband and I are equally qualified! I should better stay alone.”
“Where do you see yourself, when you are successful in your life? All alone?” “Pen down your thoughts, channel your grief and anger in a better way.” My mentor’s continuous guidance steered me to clear my blurred vision and ascertain a greater purpose.
My inner voice echoed: “It is not the first time you are thrown into an ocean of pressure in life. However, always remember that you are a swimmer.”
I have reflected on my experiences and failures, but this time with compassion and confidence.
The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can’t be created or destroyed. Energy can only be conserved. We see a wide application of this principle. However, during the process, a part of the energy gets dissipated. That is because of system friction. I found that the principle holds true for my internal energy, too. The lesser the system resistance, the more efficient the outcome.
I am still learning how better I can manifest my internal energy.
Ushasi Sengupta is a senior research analyst at Tata Consultancy Services. She completed her Post Graduate Diploma in General Management from XLRI, Jamshedpur, in 2019. Other than working from home and working for home, in parallel, she is spending her new normal exploring the unchartered territories. She is a sports enthusiast. Running is her newly developed habit.