Will a woman’s self-questioning ever end ?

I have passed the exam I wrote in September, – unexpectedly- because I fully expected to fail miserably, after assessing my performance in the test. Surprisingly I got confirmation recently that I passed.

For a few days after this I was in a state of shock and disbelief- at times, I even thought that perhaps the results were not mine. Now that it has sunk in, I realize that somehow, I have managed to get re-certified in research ethics- for a period of 3 years’, I am in the clear. Perhaps after three years, I will not need to be doing this anymore.

After this phase passed, I enrolled myself to give the IELTS exam, which is an English Language exam for people whose first language is not English. It cost me a pretty penny but now I am set to write the exam on December 12. My husband is questioning me constantly and wanting to know why I want to give this exam- he asks me if this is an obsession. I have no answer to give him but my secret is I am applying to an online Masters’ course in Science Writing for which a basic proficiency certificate in English is a must.

But the issue is I am constantly battling with myself to prove to myself, more than anyone else that I am good- I am worth it, I can pass any exam within reasonable limits. Why ? Why do I have to do this ? I would like to develop myself as a writer and since I am a doctor, I would love if my writings came out in scientific publications. So far, the few publications I have are ones’ I have co-authored with others. I would like to have my own writing and see myself in print, for my own sake.


But above all, it seems to be a remnant of my days’ of being bullied and thrown around at my previous work place. I was told constantly that I was not good enough for promotions, my degrees were not from reputed universities and basically that I was no-good.

Will we women ever stop battering ourselves ? Why can’t we be ever satisfied where we are ? Do we always have to prove ourselves. In the family, do we have to prove to be a better cook, a better house-keeper, a better person even ? Is constant competition with one-self good or is it self-destroying in the long run ? As children we have been taught to excel in everything and to do our best but as adults sometimes we are made to feel that perhaps our best isn’t really enough.


23 thoughts on “Will a woman’s self-questioning ever end ?

  1. Do you get any joy or satisfaction from your accomplishments? Because it sounds like you are very intelligent and accomplished. Perhaps you should examine this further. What do you find fulfilling? Why keep trying to achieve, and what would happen if you didn’t? I don’t know… I’m no expert, and I struggle too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do get temporary appeasement from my achievements but then I am back at it again- it seems a constant battle to prove to myself that I am good and am worthy of being part of this world.
      I don’t know.
      What would happen, if I didn’t achieve- perhaps nothing except a lot of self battering and depression, I guess.
      I guess, I will never be satisfied.
      Sigh !!


  2. First off, congratulations on passing your exam. Susieshy45, I want to thank you for this post. This is something I know first hand as well and have pondered some of the questions you pose. I think this tendency comes from not having been accepted or affirmed in foundational relationships such as those with family or other very significant persons to me (I will just speak for myself here.) I think I need to disprove all the stuff I heard as a child, although I am getting better at being content with myself, I’ve found that attaining degrees or credentials has been one route that I have chosen.

    I am learning that I can be enough, but still the self doubting voice haunts some of my days. Your post is a powerful recognition of need to prove ourselves. I think this post alone says that your inner self is more than enough. That, in and of itself is quite an achievement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for writing in and understanding- I feel happy that there is someone else like me. It seems crazy sometimes- I remember the person who was so bad to me in my previous work place and what she used to tell me about my qualifications and why I was not eligible for promotions and this drives me crazy- so crazy that it drives me to try to achieve more, and more and more, till I don’t know what is enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I understand that sentiment. What you share on your blog, ( and I’ve been a reader for almost a year) makes me believe you are as sane as anyone. The desire to be accepted and affirmed deeply runs in all humans. I agree that not finding this in work or with another human being can have a lasting effect in us.
        It sounds like your co- worker was threatened by you.


  3. With Gods help, you can do this. For with God all things are possible.
    I understand the need to succeed. I always tell my husband God put us here for a reason and it’s not to take up space and breathe air. There is a purpose for each one of us, purpose for a hope and a future. Good will come. Peace will come.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Susie, I’m so proud of YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congrats. I’ve spent a lifetime not feeling good enough. Now, I’m an old lady or at least a mature woman and still trying to overcomes the demons in my mind. You have to fight them everyday, but you can win. Believe me, you can win! I stretch my heart to you across the miles.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, dear, I know what you mean. Mine was my mother, and now that she’s 90 and I’m 62, we’re best friends. It took a long time, and Mom has rewritten history in her mind, but that’s okay. The past is gone, and can’t be changed anyway. Live, Love, and Laugh!


  5. So you’ve been busy with your exams. Well done Susie! Every little achievement counts.

    As you said “…at times, I even thought that perhaps the results were not mine”.

    I’ve been through it. After marriage, I was surrounded by IITians and here too the same. One particular group never approved of my jobs even when I had got good promotions and all…as all husbands and wives were M.Techs or PhDs from various IITs. I value others as they are so once I got so hurt by somebody’s comments that along with my banking job, I enrolled in an IT course…a three year course as good as a B.Tech and guess what…I topped my class with High Distinction. I was rather outstanding in programming languages and all our friends were surprised. But…why do we have to prove ourselves even to our close friends?

    So bless yourself…we are great 🙂


    1. Alka, what a magnificent achievement and sharing. I am so happy for you. As you say, though our successes bring us happiness, perhaps it is all too temporary. Lasting happiness, I guess comes only when we accept ourselves for what we are and not someone we want other people to appreciate.
      I guess I am always trying to me someone I am not, myself. Left alone, I am sure, I am not very ambitious but if motivated, I think I can ” achieve” great things but the sad thing is this “motivation” is the desire within me to ” get accepted” or ” not get ridiculed” or ” to belong”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very nicely put!
        “Lasting happiness, I guess comes only when we accept ourselves for what we are and not someone we want other people to appreciate.”

        We don’t have to constantly prove ourselves in front of friends and relatives who actually like us the way we are. Of course, constructive criticism is good but one can tell the difference.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. You’re not the only one, as I see from the above comments… which makes me think: gosh, look, I’m not the only one. I think the need just comes from the inner knowledge that you can do it – whatever the thing that tickles your muscle of growth and transformation. Yes, it is tiresome, yes, it is annoying … but then, what’s the other option?? Step on the side of life, and contemplate all those things that you could have achieved, that you did have the vein to achieve, but you didn’t? Risk to become like my mom (I’m in constant scare lest I’ll be like her: she had all those tremendous gifts and talents, but she never believed in herself… now, frustrated, powerless, she’s just watching the last wagons of the train pass by, and gets to worry about her daughter and son in their fifties as if she was still a young mother, as if they still were young children.)

    Don’t be afraid, you are not wrong, and you are not the only one… . BTW, I have the same kind of provocation from my husband – what’s wrong with me, why am I never set and poised…, instead of the much needed encouragement: “Go for it!”

    I guess us, women, have to make up for a couple of thousand years of handicap – time during which men were to be unchallenged and women just assigned to the tedious job of house chores and child rearing (just heard a couple of days before an insulting comment on a religious channel, made by a religious authority, claiming that, as women are not designed by nature to be authoritarian over their sons, it was therefore sinful for a mother to interfere in her boy’s brawls, etc). This is a world that needs changing (under many aspects), and it’s up to us – I see no other way, if we want things to change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah ! What a glorious comment and just right- what I wanted to hear- Soul Sister. Men cannot understand women or they choose not to understand women. If there is a blame to be put, it is on the woman- if something goes wrong- it is the woman. Naturally women feel inadequate and have the constant need to surpass at everything. So glad you understand. And thank you !

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed reading your post AND the comments….lots of wisdom here. There will always be people who think we’re not good enough or need to make improvements. We’re often the harshest critic of ourselves! Surround yourself with those who honor and value your accomplishments; those who appreciate your hard work. You have already proven yourself through great successes; just keep learning and growing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I suppose that most of us at one time or another have wanted to be someone or something other than who we are. For me, contentment came after recognizing both my abilities and limits. That seemed to free me of feeling inadequate and helped me do what I can do much better. It seems you have already accomplished much, celebrate yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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