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My Constant Battle with Incompetence

Without going into “humble brag” territory, let me just say that I am very thankful for where I am in life at the moment, and for the life I have been given. However, even in those moments where everything seems to be going so well, anxiety can seep through the cracks and morph how you perceive yourself and the world around you. Even in these moments of success, I still find myself struggling with feelings of incompetency, believing I’m not good, smart, talented, etc. enough.

One of these episodes hit me hard this week during one of my classes, in which we were discussing a play we had recently seen on a mandatory class trip. During the discussion, my peers would point out criticisms they had about the show, deep, insightful critiques. Though I was initially excited to share my thoughts on the piece, as I had honestly enjoyed it, I felt more discouraged with myself and my opinions as the discussion went on, and I eventually realized that I was the only one who had anything positive to say. While this discussion was based on personal opinion, and nobody was personally attacking my thoughts or ideas, suddenly the idea of incompetence clouded my mind. My classmates found all of these reasons to dislike the show, reasons I hadn’t picked up on or realized myself, was I not smart enough to see the deeper issues? Why did this bother me so much?

This is a battle I constantly wage against my mind, one that I don’t feel like will end anytime soon. We all have insecurities, it’s part of being human, but this is something deeper for me. Sometimes the smallest and most trivial things, such as a class discussion, a bad audition, or a social faux pas can send me spiraling into a world of self-doubt. Actively working past this is something I have been working on for quite some time, and something I will need to continually work on moving forward. What I need is patience, from myself and others. Mental illness isn’t something I can cure at the drop of a hat, as much as I wish that were the case sometimes. I need to allow myself to heal in my own time and to try not to be so frustrated with myself when my progress doesn’t come along as quickly as I would like. If you struggle with feelings such as this, please know you’re not alone, believe me, I know how much it hurts. You are valid, you are loved, and you will get through this.


Sophia is a junior theatre major and creative writing minor at Muhlenberg College. She is also very passionate about writing, reading, and politics.
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