The results of the Fortis Healthcare Survey on teens have been making news since they came out. Adolescence, as all of us who have passed through it, is a phase of extreme highs and lows. For parents, happy teens are a source of not just joy, but profound relief. If you’re lucky, they might even have some focus in their lives!
Hold on, though, all you adults and think, are we really out of the teens yet? I strongly suspect many of us hold on tenaciously to patterns of thought and behavior that we acquired in our teens. Reflect on the phrases that the survey dwells on- low self-esteem, poor social problem solving, perfection and hopelessness were ones that struck me particularly. Many others, like a tendency for depression or other psychological conditions or external circumstances like parents being separated or death in the family or even low socio-economic status would need to be addressed on a case by case basis.
But these four issues seem like they should be tackled through education and the home environment in the formative pre-teen years. They are also issues that we must continue to work on as adults throughout our lives. As such, each of needs to develop a unique strategy to tackle these ugly demons, that tend to rear their heads occasionally, even though we might be happy and balanced individuals most of the time. When they do appear, these demons can seriously derail our lives, affecting work (low self-esteem takes a severe toll on everything, but especially at work) and relationships (inability to solve social problems). A pursuit of perfection (which means unrealistic expectations from ourselves) and a sense of hopelessness (usually a lack of faith in something that will pull us through the current low period) together puts us under extreme pressure. I am experiencing all of these four conditions at this time. It’s not like life is coming to an end, but yes I am grappling with conflicting career and personal commitments, forging a new identity at a mid-career sort of stage, resolving multiple images that I have of myself and managing expectations.
I am working at that strategy to understand myself better and believe in my own ability to pull through. I think if I have something in place, I might be able to do the ‘growing up’ that has been a long time coming!
So I missed writing my blog yesterday. So I skipped a self appointed deadline a month short of reaching the halfway mark on my 365 day project for this daily blog. So what?
I’m happy to note that I write this with not a twinge of guilt or self recrimination. It’s an achievement for me, for I have always been a victim if high self expectations. So much so, that I give up halfways on targets if I know the results are unlikely to turn out the way I wanted them to. Compromised endeavours I shrug off, distancing myself from them lest I flog myself too much.
Sometime in April though, I decided to go easy on myself as far as the blog was concerned. I adopted a go-with-the-flow, no-self-criticism policy. And I’ve been a much happier person for that decision.
I knew skipping one entry would happen some day. I imagined it would happen on a holiday out somewhere in the middle of nowhere because I was exhausted or due to technical snags with connectivity.
Interestingly, I spent last evening with the office gang (a bunch of easy going, intelligent, well adjusted and honest kids) downing beers while we wound up the weeks assignments and then gorging on an authentic Naga style pork dish with bamboo shoots at the Nagaland House in the heart of Delhi (I am told the pork ribs are to die for!). No exhaustion, no tech glitch detracted me, I have no excuse really! I am just glad I still have it in me to let go and enjoy myself without reproaches and other priorities spoiling my enjoyment of the moment!