26 October 2016Last updated

Features | People

Ask the expert: I feel I’m not smart enough!

It seems you’re experiencing a sense of worthlessness or pointlessness to your study-based activities

Russell Hemmings.
22 Jan 2016 | 12:00 am

I’m a teenage girl and for the past several months I’ve been getting disappointing results in whatever I do, even though I work very hard – be it studying or in any task given to me. I feel as though I’m not smart enough to do anything. Please help me.

Teenage years can be complicated, fraught with emotional spikes and change-fuelled inner turmoil – but believe it or 
not, this is normal. What is worrying, though, is that you’re being incredibly hard on yourself.

It seems you’re experiencing a sense of worthlessness or pointlessness to your study-based activities. This feeling 
has manifested itself as you doubting the value of the hard work you’re putting in. It could be you’re craving praise, recognition or reward for your efforts. Or that your efforts are being criticised by others, which is in turn knocking your confidence.

Let’s get one thing straight – you are smart. This is obvious because you’re undertaking the studies and tasks. Giving 
up is not a smart choice.

What you do need is some perspective, support and guidance. The loving adults around you push you, because they want what’s best for you. Sometimes you might feel they are being hard on you or singling you out for harsh treatment, yet this is rarely the case. They are merely pushing you, but this metaphorical shove can leave you feeling hurt and misunderstood.

You say you’ve felt this way for some time. Sustained disappointing results over a prolonged period of time might be a signal that you need extra help and support in certain areas.

You may even benefit from additional guidance in related areas such as self-confidence and focus techniques for your studies. The key is to let those around you know how you feel. Explain in a non-emotional or non-confrontational way that you might need some extra support.

Like most things in life, talking and sharing can bring clarity to a problem or issue. Finally, keep trying and doing your best – there’s genuine value in that.

Got a problem?

Email your queries to

Russell Hemmings.

Russell Hemmings

Life coach, and clinical and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist. More info: / 04 4273627 / 055 2867275.