How to clear your glass of water?

I remember one of those days I questioned myself “How did I end up here?” This wasn’t in the positive way. It was one of those days I questioned purpose of my life and what am I going to contribute to this world. At one stage, I felt overwhelmed. On the other stage, I felt I’m so little and can’t achieve a thing. Probably, it was first time I faced true sense of failure in my life. I questioned why I choose to study what I study. I questioned every decision I made along the way and to some point regret it all.

With pressure from parents, I tried to be a higher achiever academically. I remember those days, we were physically punished with a smack or two, if we didn’t achieve what was expected of us. So, I tried my best to be “a good daughter” of my parents. I was so afraid to get out of line. I listened to every ‘order’ given by my parents and abuse the power over my brother and sister who were both younger than me.

Back to that time when I experienced the academic failure first time in my life. Relocating to a new country had impacted my academic ability. I had to learn new knowledge whilst learning new language. This made me feel that I am far behind my other peers who studied my primary school together. The first subject I failed was English in secondary school. I told myself it is understandable because I started English later than others but at the end of the high school, I was able to pass English.

I was devastated when I failed majority of the subjects I undertook in my first year of undergraduate degree. This mean that I had to repeat these subjects. Second time round, I managed to pass some of the subjects but still couldn’t pass few subjects. I was shocked and doubted my ability of study. Instead of been a high achiever academically, I become a shame of the family, can’t achieve a thing. I couldn’t even get satisfactory level of understanding in my first year subjects. This was the time I told myself, I am a hopeless student. My ability of understanding had reached its limit and that’s it for my life.

Year after year, I told myself “I am ready to quit when I don’t have any more opportunities.” It can be a cancellation of enrollment letter or parents telling me to come home. Anything it can be that was enough for me to put a label on myself “I didn’t worth an undergraduate degree” then I would go home. To be honest, I was waiting for that moment to pack and ready to go home. Someone just tell me to go home!! I already know I am not good enough about study. I wasn’t cleaver or smart. I was just a lower than average common youth shouldn’t aim, hope, or dream too high.

Year after year, somehow I was progressing through. I was save at the last step to move forward again. It was people around me got me through those days. For me, it wasn’t an easy time because everyday I wanted to run from it. It was in my face but I didn’t want to see.

One day, a person shared following quote with me.

When we are upset, it’s easy to blame others.

However, the true cause of our feelings is within us.

For example, imagine yourself as a glass of water.

Now, imagine past negative experiences as sediment at the bottom of your glass.

Next, think of others as spoons.

When one stirs, the sediment clouds your water.

It may appear that the spoon caused the water to cloud – but if there were no sediment, the water would remain clear no matter what.

The key, then, is to identify our sediment and actively work to remove it.

Josei Toda

For awhile, when I come across feedback, I took it negatively and feel as if it is a critique to my ability or personality. It stir up my limited beliefs about my ability to study. One by one, I started to remove it if possible or address it so it can be dissolved into water rather than stay as sediment. It is a long life journey to face myself doubt about my ability to study. Slowly but steadily this glass of clouded water start to clear out. Interestingly, I am still studying and doing a qualitative research I never imagine myself will be engaging 10 years ago. Sediment of life can cleared if you actively work to remove it.

What kind of sediment have you identified?
Are you able to remove it?
Is your glass of water cleared?

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