A Pep Talk (For When You’re Feeling Inadequate)


I like you, dear reader.

This is a general, vague pep talk, but don’t let that throw you off. These may be universal truths, but guess what? You fall within that universe.

Let’s get started.

First and foremost, you are not uniquely bad. People like to stress themselves out, to obsess and worry endlessly as though they have to live up to some binary of excellence. They don’t, and neither do you. I don’t know if you’re a great musician. I can, however, be reasonable sure that you aren’t uniquely bad. Similarly, any flaw that you fear obsessively- physical, situational, or even moral- is shared, thousands of times over in every city, suburb, and county in between. The diversity of humanity is staggering in its array of personal hues, which is fantastic. But what’s better still is that allows an equal diversity of flaws to be something else; not flaws, even, but quirks, inevitable, understandable, and most of all, acceptable across the world.

Accept them yourself. People love you, they care, and you are not so uniquely bad as to be absent from their world.

The next time you’re bummed or sad or panicked, find yourself a friend with a friendly dog. Explain to the dog, who is panting and wagging and snuggling and playing that you are unworthy of love.

“You don’t understand, dog” you should say. “I am worthless, because of (your current obsession.)”

The dog will look back at you, and the dog won’t understand. Not because the dog isn’t smart, but because, in that moment, it’s smarter than you.

This might sound vague, and it is. That’s the best part! I don’t even know what you’re actually proud of! Maybe you’re in medical school, or funny, or kind, or a champion juggler who adopted a cat. I don’t even know what to personalize this with, but you do. Think, seriously, about what you value and like best of yourself.  You are a human, like any other, deserving and worthy, and that’s enough already. And- and!- you get all your perks added on.

People always assume that their strengths are universal. People take it for granted because they find like-minded people, with similar skills and excellence. If you’re a writer, chances are you know other writers. Same as a musician. And this continued excellence can give you a fundamental misunderstanding of your own worth. It’s easy to dismiss what you’ve already done- you’ve done it, after all- as easy. So, for a moment, take a second to look back at everything you’ve accomplished, in a vague and specific scale. If you’re struggling in New York, focus on the fact that you moved to New York. If you’re having trouble in Med School, remember: you’re in Med School.

Looking ahead is only natural, and it’s that inclination of ambition which drives us forward. But, for your mental health, it’s important to center yourself in the context of your life. Aspirations are important and good, but not at the expense of your actual self. You’re already valid. No outside validation is needed. Cool it down and accept the positives. Look at you! You’re literate and on a future-magic box in a world that prizes opportunity and innovation.

Things are going to work out.

featured image – Soul Pancake/Kid President