Contrary to what many of us do, saying ‘I don’t know’, ‘I made a mistake’, or ‘I am scared’ are some of the most liberating phrase we can learn to say.

And the simplest reason for why these are liberating is because only a superhuman or practically non-existing species may know everything, never makes mistake, and are never scared. For us human beings, it is ok to not know everything at all the times, it is ok to make mistakes every now and then, it is absolutely ok to be scared at times. These limitations and vulnerabilities make us who we are. So, to accept who you are and to acknowledge your truth is liberating and grounding.

Point is why do we not say it quite often, why do we keep killing ourselves with stress of trying to prove something contrary to the truth? Why is it so hard to be normal, to embrace the fact that we can be weak and vulnerable?

I believe the reason to this self inflicted sabotage can be well explained by an interesting amalgamation of ‘Drama Addiction’ and Spotlight Effect’.

Drama Addiction refers to the attention seeking behavior in people, which may lead to mild stress consequences like trying to prove your point or justify yourself to more life threatening consequences like drug addiction, substance abuse and violent behavior. Attention is essential for leading a healthy human life. It is one of our basic needs. Point is, how much attention does one need in their life to stay out of drama and live in balance. How dire is our need to prove ourselves and to who? To a specific person, our family and friends, our supervisors and the company, or the entire world! What is our scope of showcasing ourselves?

Spotlight effect is our tendency to overestimate how much other people notice about us, our appearance, behavior, or our mistakes. This tendency is a cause of social anxiety in people that leads us to behave in a more acceptable manner amongst people. Spotlight effect is enhanced by social conditioning and the need for attention in people. Those who need to conform to a particular group will be more conscious in their behavior and presentation.

Now, you may think I have completely lost the track. However, I have not. Coming back to the point from where we started, we live in a world where men and women are constantly fed with an idea that they can do anything, that there are no limitations. Our fantasies are Superman, Batman, Avengers, and Barbie dolls. Our aspirations are fast cars, big mansions, luxury and exotic life. We strive to be a hero and world savior. And any aspiration less than saving the world or world peace (pun intended) is less than ordinary. Such pressure!

So, it’s true. You can’t be a superhero if you make mistakes, if you get scared of a cockroach or a lizard, or if you do not know more than half the subjects you studied. Thinking big is not a problem, aiming high is not a problem, having ambition is not a problem. The only problem is to forget that you are human, and you have certain limitations. Because you can only move ahead after acknowledging and accepting your limitations and finding the needed support to help overcome those limitations. A hero gets noticed only after a good director makes a film; after a compelling story is written by the writer; someone believes in the story enough to put money in it; after the strong support cast and crew puts the hard work. Nothing can ever be achieved alone.

So, when you learn to say, ‘I don’t know’, ‘I made a mistake’, or ‘I am scared’, the next thing you learn to acknowledge and speak out is “I need help”.

And as Professor Dumbledore (Harry Potter – J K Rowling) said, “Help will be given in Hogwarts to those who deserve it”, help is always available in this world for those who seek it, who ask for it. Only needing something is not sufficient for you to find it, you make effort to get it, ask for it and then you may have it as well.

And once you have learnt to get what you need by making effort for it, there is no more Drama and no more spotlight effect. You will eventually realize that everyone on the stage is an actor, playing their role, being weak and vulnerable and emotional. Hero is just an illusion or a projection of an unconscious self.

That is how three simple phrases can bring you closer to the truth, to the normal and liberate you from both cycle of conditioning and self limiting ideas.