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A tomato plant at the reader's home (Representational image) Image Credit: Aliah Fatima/Gulf News

I have a small balcony garden. It gives me a sense of wonder. Many years ago, I started with the common ivy vine. I was able to quickly make several cuttings and propagate the plant into a variety of colourful pots.

The lion’s share of my indoor plants is still the most popular ivy. These are the easiest plants to grow and maintain, all they require is some sunshine and water.

Then I came across the old IKEA at Marina Mall. It was a plant lover’s heaven. “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow,” said Audrey Hepburn.

I moved on to the Peace Lilies, the Zeezee plant and others. In between I even had a temporary sojourn with Anthuriams and orchids, but they were such touché plants and gave up on me. At one time, I grew cherry tomatoes with my mother, our family’s official Ms. Green fingers. Curry leaves, spring onions, cilantro, I went through phases of growing all of them. I have finally made it to Hibiscus and Aloeveras now.

Every plant has its own requirements in order to grow and so do people, goes a famous quote. Self-esteem is like a garden you lovingly take care of. You need to grow your plants, remove the weeds and insects which infest and water the flowers with care, meeting its individual needs. Don’t try to rush things that need time to grow.

Why we struggle to overcome self-doubt

Recently we had a writer’s event in our Alma mater. College events are perhaps the biggest connectors of our time, binding together people from different batches, many previously unknown. The common factor of having studied in the same institution bonds people of every age. When you are part of a group where there are giants, you automatically tend to feel small and insignificant.

“‘The worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt,’ wrote Sylvia Plath. Perhaps it’s because I’m part of a community with a lot of educators and well-balanced individuals, with gentle prodding and encouragement from those in the group, I’ve been able to overcome debilitating self-doubt to a certain degree.

On the basis of the epitomes that come before us, we gradually forge our identities, finally forming our own version. We all face existential questions like “Who am I?” “Where am I going?” “What is the purpose of my life?” and similar ones throughout our lives.

We all have bad days from time to time. Such are the days when you really want to crawl into a hole and stay there for the rest of your life. When it’s over, we unexpectedly discover a more powerful version of ourselves.

One of our acclaimed writers, who is also a member of our Alumni community, once gave us some sound advice: “Write like a madman. Never stop!” There’s no denying that well-known authors like Enid Blyton had lesser-known works.

I always wonder what good fame might have done for an introvert like Emily Dickinson, who is said to have spent almost her entire life isolated in her home. She could never have known the joy of becoming one of America’s greatest, original poets of all time, or the adoration, adulation, or recognition she deserved during her lifetime.

Years later, we are all enthralled and fascinated by her short lines, which are packed with explosive energy and wisdom.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow,” said Mary Anne Radmacher

There is no failure only feedback, goes the saying. So, tell me, if you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

Feby Imthias is a writer based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @Feby_Imthias