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QUESTION 1: I am very scared to get into any relationship because they may leave me and I will get hurt. What if I end up with no one???
RESPONSE: It is very natural to fear rejection and loneliness. But one also needs to remember that both of these things are part of everyday life. Everyone, at some point or the other, has been through rejection or/and loneliness in some way or the other. And when one is scared of something, one always tries to avoid facing that fear or running away from it. But how long can one keep running?
Remember that fear or rejection are feelings, they are not demons that are out to get you. We therefore need to stop running, turn around and face them head on. You must have heard the saying; life is all about taking risks, right? Well yes, but only if (1) you are prepared for the repercussions or consequences of the so called risk you are taking (2)you face it with a positive attitude and a clear conscience (3) you keep your options open.
When one is faced with rejection or loneliness it makes us feel hopeless, it makes us feel like it is the end of the world. But with a positive attitude and a clear conscience you will not allow anything to hold you down from finding love and happiness. And when you finally ‘zero in’ on that special someone, please take your time. The last thing you would want is for people to think you are desperate. There is a time and place for everything.
Maybe you were hurt due to a break up, or you have seen what others have gone through, hence you are feeling the way you are. And yes, it is not easy but try not to think of worse case scenarios all the time. Such thoughts will only hold you back from moving ahead in life and achieving your goals and focusing on your priorities.
Take your time to heal and get back on your feet. And not just get up, but bounce back up! Live one day at a time. Always remember you are always stronger than you think! Good luck!
QUESTION 2: My 4 year old daughter does not listen to me when I tell her not to touch people’s things. We get very embarrassed when we take her out because she does this….what can I do???
RESPONSE: Of course, a fidgety child in front of people can be a cause for embarrassment. But keep in mind that it’s natural for children your daughter’s age to touch things that are foreign or new to them. All she is doing is exploring her environment and therefore is naturally curious. Also, the senses (taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing) of children her age are still developing. Unfortunately, many people who see this kind of behaviour mistake it for bad or unruly behaviour, and children are even punished at times.
What we need to understand here is that children need sensory stimulation. They need to be taught to identify and recognise the different types of tastes, sensations, sights, sounds and smells. It’s part of the learning process. The same way small children find it hard to understand emotions and feelings until they are taught, the same applies to the senses. A child who is ‘sensory deprived’ will often turn out to be fidgety by nature.
The best way to help your child at this stage is through Play. Play to an adult may seem ‘childish and meaningless’, but as a Play Therapist I have seen how beneficial and important it is to a child’s development. Play teaches your child crucial social, emotional and motor skills.
You can start by buying or making toys that appeal to all her senses (touch, sound, sight, taste and smell) through play. Have a treasure basket of sensory toys with different textures, designs, smells, tastes and sounds. For example, play dough, sensory bottles where you can put all kinds of interesting items inside, silly slime, finger and feet painting, bursting bubble wrap with hands and feet. You can also have a sensory or happy corner in her room where you include the sensory stimulating objects. There are parents who also put together a portable sensory kit which they carry around when outside the house to keep their children occupied!
Take her outside, let her play with mud, stones, sticks, water etc., roll around, get dirty. Remember how much fun it was for us? By doing this you are helping her explore her environment, as well as different sensations while learning and having fun at the same time. Also, because her sensory needs are being met by doing this, she is less likely to fidget. But even if she still does at times, teach her rather than preventing her from exploring, because she will keep doing it till she finds answers. Do try to think outside the box and be innovative in your approach to teaching her. It is also a great opportunity for you both to bond.
There are many DIY resources online on sensory play material. This kind of sensory play will also help keep your child focused, she will learn to process different kinds of information through her senses, she will be calm and develop gross and fine motor skills as well. Please remember not to force your child to get into any activity, give her the freedom to explore, join her, be safe and have fun!
QUESTION 3: I get stressed about many things and feel unwell most times. My friends are saying I have BP. Is this true?
RESPONSE: The cause of unstable blood pressure is often caused by stress. Stress or tension is always triggered or caused by issues. When it comes to stress, prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, before I start talking about ways of ‘managing’ stress, let’s start by talking about ways to prevent it!
Stress is often caused by day to day pressures. People encounter all kinds of difficulties and challenges every day, for example, getting to work on time, getting the kids ready for school, deadlines etc. These kinds of stressors disappear, as long as one is able to overcome or control them.
The other type is the stress which affects our physical and mental well being, stress or pressures which are a direct result of our own thoughts or doings which have gotten out of control. For example, not paying credit card bills for months till you get a legal notice, postponing a medical check-up for a pre-existing health problem you have had for a long time etc.
We can prevent stress by:
- Setting priorities and Managing Time: This is the most important. People who are able to manage or balance time are happier and less stressed than the ones who cannot. Time management starts with setting of priorities and goals. Based on these, allocate your time accordingly. The more you are able to abide by a routine or schedule the less pressure or stress on you. Don’t forget to give yourself a break every now and then.
- Identify the stress triggers and staying away, or dealing with them at the right time. For example, if you have a submission deadline, don’t wait for the last minute to submit, or if you are stressed out about finances, maybe you should seek financial advice or save more and spend less by keeping a spending limit per month.
- Resolving issues of the past which still weigh on you. Many of us keep postponing things we should have done earlier. It could be something as simple as fixing a leaking tap or paying the light bill on time. Or it could be closure after a break-up that happened a year ago, making up with a friend after an argument or owning up to something you did. The point here is to not wait and let the tension and stress mount.
- Looking after oneself. Take care of your physical and mental well-being. If you have been unwell, under-weight or over-weight and not liking it for a while, do something about it! See a doctor or counsellor. Eat right and sleep well. Do not wait till it’s too late or beyond control. Health issues cause people to be stressed all the time. It also takes a toll on ones self-esteem.
- Leave out or leave last the un-important/unnecessary things. Make a list of things to do, or things to achieve and always have this list with or by you. Time management and priorities also come in here. For example, you have a presentation on the same day your friends planned to see a movie; what does one who has his priorities set right do? He skips the movie and works on his presentation, because work is his No.1 priority and his goal is to get that promotion in 3 months.
- Do things that you enjoy and reward yourself. Take a vacation or a breather once in a while. Spend or make time for the things you enjoy. Once you are able to achieve that balance you will enjoy your break 100%. Reward yourself for reaching a goal, no matter how small it may be.
Please remember to face life with a positive attitude, never give up and always reach out for help whenever you feel the need. All the best!