I feel discouraged and not good enough

I feel like I am incompetent at everything, that’s why I always ask questions about school and anything I am doing that I haven’t done before. To be more specific, I struggle a lot at school; I spend my time worrying about tests and I study really hard. But when comes the test, I mess up because my mind goes blank. And then I stress before getting my test results. So it is this continuous cycle of misery. Because of that, I always have doubts and so I ask my friends way too many questions about school work that I am sure I am annoying them. I’ve always been spoken to as if I am dumb. Like I noticed people love speaking to me in a condescending tone or with condescending comments. For example, I used to be friends with this 12th grader and I am in 11th. And basically I asked him for help for a lab report he did the year before. And when he saw my lab report he pointed out a mistake I did with a graph and then I fixed that mistake and he said: “That’s decent but hope that when your teacher reads your lab report, she reads it half asleep”. With this comment he was insinuating that my lab sucks so much that my teacher will have to correct it half asleep if I wanna get a decent grade. And that comment really hurt because i’m really insecure about my abilities. I just feel like I am genuinely stupid because it is not the first time I get comments like these. And when I talk about this with my siblings, they get annoyed with me and I dont understand why. I just feel really shitty about myself and that affects my academic performance even more now because I have no motivation to do my school work or study because I feel like no matter what I do, i’ll never succeed. And when I tell people about this, they say “why are you doing this to yourself” “stop stressing then, it’s simple”. It’s like they’re not even listening to my words, and even invalidating it. It is not that simple. I can’t just start thinking I am competent just because you told me to stop thinking i’m incompetent. I don’t feel like doing anything anymore. I just want to run away somewhere on an island isolated so I do not burden anyone with my problems. I am sick of all of this. I feel like I won’t even manage to get a career when i’m older because of my incompetence.

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Hey, listen. You are NOT a burden by asking for help. Not that I would know from personal experience, but school gets stressful, especially when you’re older. And even if this has been a problem for a while, that’s ok. Remember, school is really best suited to one type of person, and it would be unfair to hold yourself to their unrealistic expectations. Not that I don’t think you!re capable of amazing things, but for something so universal, school is so damn stressful. I’m in 8th grade and I already can’t handle shit. And I’m the kid who always got shit like “Oh, you’re so smart”, and oh how quickly it turned into “what happened to you” when I started to be inconsistent with turning in my homework. The system is unfair, so don’t let your grades or others’ opinions define someone as bright as you.

And if there are people you know who would be so daring as to speak down to you, you’re not obligated to stay with them. Walk away. Ignore those people. Because let’s face it, humans love distinguishing themselves from others, always trying to find a reason to make themselves feel like they’re better than others. They pity you to make themselves think they’re a better person than you. But they aren’t. YOU are the better person here. You’re an amazing, intelligent person who has a bright future. No letter grade or test score can change that. :blush: :heart:

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Hey @Tknr,

Thank you so much for being here. I hope that, since you posted, you managed to find some relief and relax a little, even if it’s difficult.

I’m sorry people are not more understanding or supportive, friend. For what it’s worth, you have a family right here in this community ready to encourage you, and certainly not to diminish or judge you. Learning to be confident with yourself takes time. It’s something that so many of us struggle with and it’s okay to make trials and errors during this journey.

It’s really hard when you’re insecure about yourself, about your capacities, to the point sometimes of sabotaging yourself. But it’s even more difficult when people around you don’t help at all, whether it’s by being condescendant or suggesting useless tips such as “you should stop overthinking”. You are totally right when you say that none of this helps. I personally have a lot of performance anxiety, so school and anything that puts me in a position of being evaluated is kind of a nightmare to me. Though at school I never dared to ask questions as you do because I was afraid of people’s judgment. The very fact that you ask questions is really awesome. Seriously. You put yourself in a position of learning, you open doors and create opportunities. You seek a better knowledge and that’s not something everyone is ready to do.

Now, confidence is like a muscle to train, through a lot of small steps. A little bit like starting to use a bicycle without the small wheels. It’s the same for your scholarship and the questions you ask. There is a time when you need to give yourself the benefit of the doubt in the fact that you know what you’re doing. There’s a time when you need to jump into the unknown, to take what would feel like risks to you (for example, doing an exercise you’r eunsure about, but without the review of your peers), so you can see what you’re able to do or not - at the moment, not in general or for the rest of your life. You are there to learn. It’s okay to make mistakes sometimes, to have bad grades sometimes. What matters is to learn from it - and if not with the help of your friends, then it’s still the role of your teachers to guide you. Their goal is to make sure you succeed. And I think if you want to receive feedback that has a higher chance to be fair and correct, then it would be interesting to ask your teachers the questions you need first and foremost.

Another thing you can try to do is ask yourself first: 1/ if you know the answer of your question, 2/ if you can find it by yourself, or 3/ if you really need someone else for that. From the answers you’ll get, you’ll decide what to do. Each possibility is always okay by the way, and there’s no judgment to apply to it. Though asking yourself that kind of thing can help you find some clarity when you’re feeling very anxious. When we feel insecure, we can fall in this trap of seeking validation and second guessing for everything we do, because it stems out of a belief that nothing good can come out of ourselves. But you are not an empty shell, friend. You are not without skills or capacities. You have strengths and, at the same time, skills to improve, just like everyone else. So it’s okay to try to find a balance between what you know, what you can do by yourself and what you need help with. We’re all a mix of those 3 possibilities at the same time.

Another idea would be to take some time to reflect on yourself and identify your strengths. You have capacities, but it can be hard for you to acknowledge them, which might actually play a huge part in your insecurities. Building self-confidence requires you to learn to be honest with yourself, and trying your best to resist against the “all or nothing” thoughts. For example, thoughts like: “I couldn’t do this exercise, I’m so stupid”. Or “I wasn’t able to answer to this question, I’m never going to be able to do anything in my life”. When you identify that kind of thought, take some time to challenge them: “is there a more realistic way to express how I feel? How could I reframe it in a way that would be helpful to me?”

We’re all works in progress, friend. You’re not a burden for learning, asking questions - literally for trying to better yourself. You’ll need to give yourself some grace through all of this. The pressure you put on your shoulders is not something you’re made to be stuck with. It’s okay to learn to know yourself and dare to exist, with your strengths and flaws, just like we all do as human beings. You’re not less a person for not having all the answers and for having a hard time with things you have to do at school.

If you’re okay with it, maybe it could be interesting to also talk about it with a counselor. The pressure associated with performance at school is very real and can be crippling in the long run. For me personally, it drained a lot of my energy, and I wish someone would have told me at the time that it was okay to struggle and there’s no need to stay alone with this. It’s okay to talk about it and reach out to the appropriate persons, such as a professional. Not just for the work you have to do, but first and foremost for breaking this vicious spiral of self-doubts. You can do this, friend. I believe in you. :hrtlegolove:

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My heart goes out to you. 11th and 12th grades were some of the most stressful times in my life because I was trying to distinguish myself in school and get into college, basically by being the person people wanted to see.

To play devil’s advocate, maybe he was trying to be funny, or maybe he’s just really bad at being empathetic or helpful. It’s not funny though, and you’re not overreacting by being upset by this. What he’s telling you is that basically you don’t understand even after he’s helped you and that he’s writing you off.

Storytime: My mom failed 7th grade because her math teacher straight up called her stupid every day, and she quit believing in herself because she thought her math teacher was right. She quit trying in all her subjects because she thought there was no point. My mom is not stupid, and it took her 20 years to figure that out. Fast forward 10 or so years, she found out that teacher picked one kid in every class to call stupid, and when the administration found out they fired her immediately. When she told that story to her parents, they said if they had any idea that that was going on they would have marched into that school demanding answers. All this to say, don’t believe the naysayers. Cut them out of your life. Find people who will support you and back you up.

You are not the only one struggling in your classes, and if the folks who struggle band together, they will bounce the information around until they get it right. I was one of the “smart kids.” I didn’t need study groups in high school. When I went to college and started failing, I failed all alone. Meanwhile the study group folks in high school became study group folks in college. They kept grinding, graduated, and are doing great in their careers. My dad was one of those people, and he’s done everything in his career.

A popular mantra in college is “Cs get degrees.” You don’t have to be the smartest person in the class, you just need to keep trying and believe in yourself, damnit. Again, high school is a really high stress environment where all the emphasis is on high grades, but remember that you’re not failing if you’re passing. Also, if you’re averaging over 70%, you’re in the top 1/3, and in life that’s pretty good. It’s better than the best quarterbacks, and it would be unbelievably legendary in baseball.

Like @Micro said, talk to your teachers after hours. They want you to succeed too. They got into teaching to make a difference, and there’s no bigger difference they can make than helping someone who’s struggling understand the subject matter and seeing that lightbulb go on. You’ve got this!

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