Identify your strengths, weaknesses

Ask Your Counsellor
Last Updated 19 December 2019, 00:30 IST

Dear Madam,

I share a close bond with my elder sister. She is a talented person and I am unable to match her either in academics or extra-curricular activities. I often compare myself with her and start feeling low. How can I learn to accept myself?


Dear Poornima,

Everyone is different and everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Instead of comparing yourself with your sister, identify your own strengths and get to know yourself better. There is no alternative to accepting yourself, you are good enough the way you are – not because of what you do and how you act, but because of who you really are.

There is no one else like you and you’re special. Learn to recognise that and accept it. It may be helpful for you to work with a counsellor to discover the diamond within. Good luck and enjoy the journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance.

Dear Madam,

I am a very pessimistic person. I always fear the worst is going to happen and start something with the presumption that it won’t come out well or that I won’t be successful in my efforts. How can I be a more optimistic person? I want to change my perception and look at things in a more positive way. Please help.


Dear Riya,

The fact that you are aware of your pessimistic thinking is a good place to start. Only once you are aware of your thought patterns can you work towards changing them. Being pessimistic all the time can take a lot of the joy out of living because you always end up focussing and anticipating a negative outcome which can be emotionally exhausting. The next time this happens it may be helpful to catch yourself and write down your ‘pessimistic’ thought, and then reformulate it into an ‘optimistic’ thought and see how that feels for you. The reality is that you cannot control anything that is going to happen. The only thing you can control are your thoughts. Your predicting a negative outcome is neither going to make it happen or not happen.

So really the answer lies in learning how to reframe your thoughts. But this may not be so easy to do on your own and it may be very helpful for you to work with a counsellor to learn how to do this. Good luck!

Dear Madam,

I try to be cool and hang out with other cool kids in my college. You will find me cracking jokes and having fun. But once I return home I feel I don’t have any true friends and all that takes place in school is just pretence and everyone is faking it. This makes me feel sad and lonely. How to build a more meaningful life?


Dear Rohith,

The secret lies in being who you really are, and in accepting yourself the way you are. You don’t need to try to be cool and project a different version of yourself that does not exist. We feel the need to do that when we believe that the ‘real’ version of ourselves is not good enough (and therefore we need to pretend to be a version that we think will be good enough!). Accept yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes. And accept others for who they are – without judgment and comparison.

When you are able to be genuine in your interactions, others are also more inclined to be genuine in their interactions with you. Meaningful relationships are not built on pretences and facades that you project, but on how authentic you are and how vulnerable you allow yourself to be in those interactions. And if you need more help in trying to understand what is genuine and what is fake, or in accepting and loving yourself for who you are, you may want to reach out to a counsellor who can help you navigate this successfully.

(Published 19 December 2019, 00:30 IST)

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