My friends and I are a popular bunch at college. We excel in our studies, sports and a few other extra-curricular activities. I’m usually the one taking the initiative to do things and participate in different activities but I often feel they get jealous of me when I do so. I encourage my friends to take the lead but they never take the opportunity. The negativity gets to me sometimes and then I don’t feel like doing anything. Knowing I won’t get the chance again, I tend to pick myself up and move on. But I’m not sure how to deal with their envy as I often find that I hold myself back to avoid all the jealousy. Strangely, when it’s all over, everyone is happy and takes credit for the success and I’m alright with that. Just wish I didn’t have to deal with the negativity as I don’t know for how long I can keep myself motivated.
Thank you for writing in and sharing your thoughts with me. It’s so wonderful to know of your enthusiasm, drive and positivity. Your friends and you are a talented lot and it’s great that you are making the most of your time at college. William Shakespeare once said: “Some people are born great, others achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” The bad news is that you probably will not fit in with everyone you work with. The good news is that great ones never do. Whenever you feel like quitting, ask yourself about why you started. If you fall down 8 times, rise up 9 times. The negativity that brings you down is something you don’t have to bear. By being positive in negative situations is a mere reassurance of your leadership qualities. Don’t hold yourself back just because others are uncomfortable with your greatness. Be happy by being yourself. If others don’t like it, let them be. Happiness is a choice and life isn’t about pleasing everybody. Work for a cause, not applause. Live life to express, not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt. Negative people need drama like it’s oxygen. Stay positive and take their breath away. Cease to just exist and continue to live! All the best.
I sometimes find myself getting so stressed with all the things I have to do during the day. I have to go for tuitions after college and then I have to babysit my siblings in the evening after the house help leaves. Ours is a single parent family and things often become very stressful with everyone managing more than they are able to. I often see each of us just struggling to get by and I wonder when things will just settle down and get to a slower pace. Any advice on how to cope with all of this?
Thank you for your email and for discussing your overwhelming situation. You and your family do seem like you all are swimming against the tide. It’s great to be multitasking and often a necessity in this super-fast paced world we live in but the only drawback about it is when we do too much simultaneously, we end up doing nothing right. Multitasking divides your attention and leads to confusion and weakened focus. The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities. Create a lifestyle that you can live with. Start by making a to-do list. Remember that it’s fine not to try and fit everything onto that list. You can do anything you choose to do but not everything. Sometimes deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. It might help to share tasks between the various family members to avoid overburdening just one person. It might also be useful to just take some time out as a family to unwind. There is no point in just existing if you don’t enjoy the life you’re living. Breathe – it’s not a crime. Life is short and no doubt competitive and complex. But everything that comes your way is everything you can deal with. Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you’ve come. Think of all the hurdles you’ve already overcome and you will know that you are more able than you think you are.
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Until next time, take care!
(The columnist is a consultant psychologist and counsellor at the Sethu Centre for Child Development and Family Guidance.)