I’ve been feeling very low and scared for the past few days. There is a constant cloud of gloom lurking over me. I’ve recently experienced the loss of a few near and dear ones and it seems like the fragments of my life are slowly disappearing, especially from my childhood. I know that we can’t control everything in life and death is surely one of those things, but I’m so afraid to think of what might happen next. The uncertainty is nerve wrecking. Any way I can overcome this?
Thank you for writing in and sharing your feelings with me. Losing a loved one is difficult. Do take the time out to grieve, cry, complain and feel angry or whatever it is that you are feeling. But once you are done, be encouraged by their passing – live an inspired and happy life like they did when they were here. Live – knowing that they are proud and smiling down on you from heaven. Don’t let a bad event make you feel like you have a bad life. You are right is saying that we can’t control everything; however we can definitely control our reactions to it. Fear does not stop death, it stops life. Smiles fade, tears dry up but memories last forever. Hold the memories of your loved ones in your heart until you can hold them again in heaven. You are in charge of how you feel, so why not choose positivity? It is difficult to start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. Yes, the uncertainty is scary but you never know what great things might also be awaiting you. Look for the positive in life every day, even if it means you have to look a little harder on some days. Great and beautiful things await you; the world awaits you, embrace it with a smile.
I’m new to my college and everything seems so overwhelming. My family relocated to Goa last month and it’s been a challenge settling in. I try to make new friends but it seems to be taking longer than I expected. I used to participate in numerous extracurricular activities in my old college but I don’t know if I can or will be able to do that here. I find myself feeling so lost at times. I read your column in the paper and thought I’d write in. What can I do to get accepted here?
Thanks for your email and for discussing your overwhelming situation with me. Let me start by saying, welcome to Goa. Relocating is definitely a challenging experience but it also brings with it the magic of beginnings and new adventures. Feeling lost is a typical feeling in this situation and it is a very temporary thing too. You’ve got a chance to write a new story and it doesn’t necessarily have to look anything like your past. It’s nice to know that you’re trying to fit in and get to know people. Friendships take time to develop and have no guarantee on how long that might take. Expectations lead to disappointment and that’s the last thing you need to carry on this journey. You cannot change the people around you but you can change the people you choose to be around. You are probably approaching the wrong people but don’t let that make you feel disheartened. You mentioned that you enjoyed participating in extracurricular activities and that’s a great place to start. You’re likely to meet like-minded people there. Take a chance, you never know how great it might turn out to be. Keep your doubts away. Doubts kill more dreams than failure ever does. Remember that you do not need to feel accepted by others around you, you only need to accept yourself for who you are. Give yourself a little more time to settle in, a little more credit for every effort you make and a little less stress so as to not try too hard. Remind yourself that happiness doesn’t have just one address.
Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; they sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down. You have the ability to rise above it all, use it!
When it rains, look for the rainbow. When it’s dark, look for the stars.
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(The columnist is a psychologist and counsellor at the Sethu Centre for Child Development and Family Guidance.)