Is living a double life ‘cool’?

I have no intentions of hurting anyone. I came across this incident recently. It may not seem a big thing to some, but it bothered me so much that I decided to write about it. I see people living double lives: a real life and a fake life. It is amazing how they manage to do this really well. What I fail to understand is the reason for pretending what one is not. Surprisingly, not only is this found in adults but also in children in their pre-teens and teens. One needs to differentiate between “needs” and “wants” to live a happy balanced life. Victory of a “need” over a “want” leads to unhappiness. I cannot think of a need to drift away from the real. We need to be proud and grateful of who we are. Be truthful. Whom are we trying to convince and impress?

Two high school students, Amy and Marcus are good friends. Amy’s other friends do not consider Marcus to be of their “class”, and kind of dislike him. She does not have the courage to speak for him. Her friends do not know of the friendship between the two, but his friends know it. There are group chats on the social media. The girls ridicule Marcus. Amy is an active participant. Marcus is not pleased. His friends do not support him. They are blaming him for pulling down their reputation. One of the boys even goes on to say “R.I.P. Marcus, July 12, 2016, 9.40pm”. Another one adds “Have a funeral to go to tomorrow”. The group members leave the group one after the other as they are worried about their “image”. Imagine the stress Marcus is going through. Someone tries to comfort Marcus and his reply is “only if I survive”. Just writing this gives me the shivers. These children are living double lives at this tender age. They have a long way to go in life. Which life: the real or fake? It is their decision, but are they being educated to be wise decision makers? How well are we educating them to be successful in the real world?

Jasleen Chawla

(The names, date and time have been changed to protect privacy.)

Need of a Counsellor

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What are the first thoughts that come to your mind on hearing the word “counsellor”? When do you think someone needs a counsellor? Why do you think someone would need a counsellor? Most of us would agree that the need of a counsellor arises when there are challenges or issues that need to be resolved in one’s life. Challenges related to relationships, health- physical and mental, delinquency, and substance abuse cross our mind at the mention of counselling. But, it is also true that counselling is needed in helping to make good choices and take wise decisions in life with career choices being on the top of the list. Counselling is not always about stress, depression, negativity, or sadness.

Counselling

There is no denying in the fact that we are all guilty of getting counselling (in some form or another) at one or more occasions in our life. Advice is a more common term that we prefer to use in place of ‘counsel’. For instance, your friend asks for your opinion (advice) while buying a new dress/suit, and you give your opinion in more than just one word (‘this’ or ‘that’). You explain your opinion (choice) while talking about the various factors to be considered for the purchase (e.g., need, fit, occasion, price, value, disability) in the best interest of your friend. Now, this is counselling. Your friend knows s/he can rely on you.

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Everyone may not, and does not have to, agree with this. Nevertheless, it is true that we need someone ‘neutral’ who can counsel us without any fear or intimidation. The best part is that you get to decide who s/he is that you want as a counsellor- someone you can trust and rely on you, a person who is an active listener, a person who can be confidential to your information (challenges, actions), a person who does not hesitate in giving you honest feedback, and a person who is happy to see you succeed in various life situations. Sometimes, you only need someone to listen to you-  your counsellor!

Jasleen Chawla