I belong to a single parent family. My dad spends most of his time at work, doing his best to provide for us. Although I’m in class 12 now I’m still responsible for the household and my two younger brothers. I try and juggle my schedule as much as I can to make sure all their needs are met but I find myself struggling to keep up now. I am unable to focus on my studies and have been pulled up a few times by my teachers. I don’t know how to manage everything anymore and it’s making me feel horrible. I don’t want to stress my father by telling him about this. What can I do?
Thank you for writing in and discussing your overwhelming situation with me. It is absolutely wonderful to know of how you have taken up so much responsibility in your stride. At such a young age I can’t imagine how challenging it has been so far. Class 12 is an important year, possibly filled with many projects and studying; no wonder it’s getting a little tough now. However, it is not about doing it all but doing the best you can. You need to remind yourself that you are your father’s daughter and your brothers’ sibling and it is perfectly alright to play only these roles. It is fine to say you cannot manage and ask for help. You could also try delegating tasks within the family or even letting your dad know it’s getting difficult now. Don’t stress over what you cannot control. It seems like you’ve been looking after everyone all this time and maybe it’s time to start looking after yourself now. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it is in anyway being selfish. Sometimes it’s not the load that gets you down, it’s the way you carry it. You have a wonderful future filled with numerous adventures and stories waiting to unravel. Take a moment to sit back, relax, breathe and then go for it! Make yourself the focus now. Your mind is a powerful thing. When you start to fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.
Remember to be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can. Good luck.
I am always scared to try new things and take risks. As a result I feel like all my friends are moving on and excelling in so many different things while I’m stuck playing safe. I’m scared that if I take risks, I might end up getting distracted and losing everything I have worked for so far. Any suggestions on how to deal with this?
Thank you for your email and for sharing your predicament with me. A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there. If you want something you have never had, then you have got to do something you have never done. No doubt the grass is always greener on the other side but you won’t know that for sure until you start moving. Things usually seem difficult and impossible, until they are done. You need to try and take some risks in life – if you win, you’ll be happy; if you lose, you’ll be wise. Don’t be afraid of what could go wrong instead start getting excited about what could go right – Tony Robbins. Have you ever thought of any past successes you may have experienced, as a result of any risks you might have taken and the happiness you felt at that time? Wasn’t it worth it?
When it is time for you to venture out, don’t let fear have you looking behind what you are leaving. Right now, staying in your comfort zone seems to be distracting enough already. So worry not, no learning is ever lost. Knowledge is useful only when it is put into practise. Keep in mind that in the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take. Make the most of your time. You only live once. All the best.
Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won and all the fears you have overcome. Life is a reality to be experienced. The happiest people don’t have everything, they make the best of everything they have.
Do keep writing in at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, be kind.
(The columnist is psychologist and counsellor, currently working as a school counsellor.)