Strive to be confident

Ask your counsellor

Strive to be confident
Dear Madam,
I was a good student in my school days. Even after joining pre-university college, I was doing well. But due to health issues, in the second year, I could clear the Maths paper only in the supplementary round. I opted for diploma as a last resort. I cleared my diploma with flying colours and got a merit seat in engineering via lateral entry. Though I managed to complete my engineering degree, I am not able to clear one subject (Mathematics) as I have lost my interest in it. I am feeling very depressed. I am 27 years old and have still not graduated. The circumstances have made me feel useless. Please suggest a solution.
Depressed human being

Dear human being,
I don’t know what to address you as, because I don’t believe you deserve the label of “depressed human being”. I strongly urge you to see a counsellor or talk to someone you trust who can help you process your emotions. Personally, I believe seeing a counsellor is much more helpful than seeing anyone else. You may still not have graduated, but that does not mean that you need to stop living. Keep your focus on completing that one paper that you need to, because it will make a difference to the trajectory of life that may open up. Take whatever help you need to do it. You need to do it not because you need good marks in that paper, or you need to prove anything to your friends and family, but because more opportunities may come your way because of it. Visualise those opportunities and dream the possibilities. That may help you find the motivation.

Explore what work experience you may be able to gain in the meantime. Think of a business idea that you may be able to develop. Think of people in your life who may be able to mentor you and reach out to them. There is no weakness in asking for help. Don’t worry about what others will say. You need to do this for yourself because you are worth it. Don’t worry about the lost years. What are a few years in an entire lifetime? Life is a marathon, not a 100-metre sprint. The goal is to complete it successfully, given all the ups and down; not necessarily to win it all the time. All the best.

Dear Madam,
We have a 13-year-old son who is innovative and creative. His latest passion is designing board games. His first board game became so popular in the school that his friends teamed up to make it a commercial venture. Now the problem is, as parents we do not want him to get into activities that involve money at this age. Though we support him to plan and design more such games, we feel it is very early for him to get into business, however small it is. Please guide.

Dear Parents,
I really appreciate the fact that you took time to explore your own uncertainties and anxieties about the issues involved. It is commendable that you are being supportive of your child, unlike some other parents who may think that anything other than academics is a waste of time. I think it will be worthwhile for you to think about what your anxieties around him handling money are. There are many success stories of entrepreneurs who started very young. So what are your fears around your child getting into activities involving money? You could view this as an opportunity to handle money responsibly, or you could choose to view this as a threat to your capability to parent effectively, or you could view this as an avenue to inculcating bad habits. Your response will depend on what your view is about money. Handling money responsibly is an important life skill and often, the earlier in life children learn it, the better. So do talk to someone about your fears around it and see if you can address them. Good luck!

Dear Madam,
I often find myself struggling to articulate my thoughts well when I have to give a presentation at school. When I do so, I become conscious of how I speak and how I look, even though it is absurd to do so. As a result, this leads to me being stressed and I feel pressured to perform well. How do I overcome this and ensure that I look confident? 

Dear Anonymous,
Don’t strive to just look confident, strive to actually be confident. A lot of people suffer from stage fright — the fear of performing in front of an audience for fear of being judged negatively. It is important to remember that no matter what someone judges you to be, that does not become reality. A person judges another based on his or her own world-view, beliefs and values. The absolute and whole truth for each one of us is based on what we judge ourselves to be. If we believe we are not good enough, then no matter what others think of us, we think they are judging us to be not good enough! If we judge ourselves to be good enough then we really don’t care how others judge us, and that makes us feel confident, which in turn makes others judge us as being ‘good enough’. So, how others and the world judges us is really a reflection of our own judgment about ourselves. To help you judge yourself more positively, you may want to seek the help of a counsellor for a few face-to-face sessions. Or reach out to the free Parivarthan Counselling Helpline at 080 65333323 to talk to a counsellor over the phone. Good luck!
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