How I found myself

August 2015

By Shivi Verma

A satori helped Shivi Verma develop discerning abilities

For the longest time I found myself at the bottom of the world ladder.

I felt incompetent and a total misfit in the world. Everywhere I looked I found smart people who knew their minds and where they stood.

I remember going to the market with my mother and looking at the swarming crowd with amazement and bewilderment. They surely knew who they were and what they wanted, had clear minds, goals and concepts. Whereas I was a total wreck. Good at intellectualizing, but hopeless at navigating the world. Lost in trying to figure out the puzzle of life, I was fully confused. It was easy for anybody with a hint of self-confidence and self-assuredness to put me in doubt and give me a complex. Everybody around me seemed so sure of themselves. Often I would try aping their style, only to make a bigger fool of myself.

The only time I felt strong was when I self-righteously fought or argued with people. But this was false confidence. I wanted to be smart. Someone who had the wherewithal to steer her life. Though I knew I was a good person, I doubted the efficacy of that goodness. Every time I tried being good, by placing others before me, either I was slighted, betrayed or mocked. I cherished certain values, like kindness, thoughtfulness, honesty, and idealism. But they were mostly dismissed by those I knew.

Everybody seemed to tell me that I was foolish, totally in the wrong and needed to reinvent myself to make it in this world. I was angry, unhappy, unsure, irritable and diffident. I hated myself because I felt that I was fundamentally screwed up. Yet I did not want to become sassy, clever, shrewd or hard. I cherished my inner purity and intuitively knew that nothing was worth trading it for. But the question was how to function with dignity in a world which was opposed to everything I stood for? How not to be intimidated by people who appeared bold, clever, quick and sharp? Was there a unifying principle which clarified the haze around concepts, separating milk from water? Could I too be right somewhere?

The first instance of self-validation happened when God responded to my earnest appeals. I wasn’t looking for gifts. Just some proof that She existed. When She reciprocated I felt as though the parched earth was getting slaked after centuries of thirst. Gosh, something must be right about me if the invisible could deem it fit to make Her presence felt to me, I thought. I was special, I was right, I was okay. I rejoiced inwardly. I gained confidence. I stopped looking up to people for validation.

I knew that I stood for the highest in human nature and God’s touch sprang my shrivelled inner self to life.

Surprisingly, this discovery did not fill me with pride. Only gave me confidence in myself. I knew that I stood for the highest in
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