I am a sixteen years old studying in the last year of high school. I will be finishing my school in the coming summer when I will appear for my final exams. After that I plan to go to college for under graduate studies.
My father is a very successful and well renowned doctor. He has his own private practice which is doing very well. He makes a very handsome living. My two elder siblings are also doctors and work with my father in his clinic. It’s like a family business. My father wants the same for me. He wants me to enroll into a medical school to pursue a degree in medicine, become a doctor and then join him.
But this is something that I don’t want at all. I don’t want to be a doctor. I am not at all good in the science subjects. I don’t understand them and they bore me. I would be lucky to pass high school with a decent grade in the science subjects and that too after getting tutored privately in them.
On the other hand I excel in art. I am the best student in my art class. I enjoy and love attending art classes. I want to go in the creative fields. That is where my talent and my passion lie. My brain is always flooded with creative and artsy ideas. I have done a few projects for my school and all of them were well received and got me extraordinary praise. My teachers and the school counsellors understand this and have advised me to pursue a career in arts.
But my father is adamant. He won’t hear of it. He wants me to become a doctor and nothing else. I have tried convincing him but in vain. He simply doesn’t want to listen. I know I don’t have it in me to be a doctor and even if I did, I simply don’t want to be one. I won’t be happy studying and practicing medicine. I see my father and my brothers working in their clinic. They enjoy that work. I won’t. I want to do something that I am sure I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life. What should I do? How should I convince my father to let me pursue arts in college and not medicine?
Dear Artsy Guy,
First of all, let me congratulate you for being sensible enough to understand that one should preferably pursue a career in a field in which not only is one good at but also enjoys it.
Secondly, you should feel lucky and thankful that your talent lies in something which you enjoy. This combination is not always true for everyone. Very few people are lucky enough to have it.
I would advise you to pursue your dreams. Nothing is better than pursuing one’s dreams and achieving them and nothing is worse than being stuck in a job/career/work that makes you miserable and brings you no inner satisfaction. It ultimately leads to stress and burnout because every time you work, you are constantly at war with yourself.
And your school teachers and counsellors agree with you that you should pursue arts, which means that others also see your talent and passion.
Your father rightly or wrongly doesn’t understand this at present. There could be many reasons for it. May be he feels that a career in the arts field is not as financially stable as medicine. Or may be he feels that it’s not as honourable and respectful as that of a doctor.
Whatever the reason, you will have to sit down with him and try to convince him. You will need to allay all his fears. You will need to make him understand that not only do you love art but you can also make it a worthwhile career. This is not going to happen on its own. You will have to convince him and come up with answers/solutions to his questions/objections.
You can do this by first arming yourself with all the details of your chosen profession. Research in detail and come up with the answers to any or all the questions/objections that your father might have. Calmly, tell him of your plans, your reasons why this is the best choice for you and your dreams. Showing your father that you do not have the all-too-common teenage bug about wanting to be an artist and have instead considered your career realistically and carefully will go a long way towards him taking your choice seriously.
Secondly, tell him that you are different from him and your brothers, that you would be miserable studying medicine. Show him the passion and excitement about your choice. No parent wants to see their child unhappy. Once he truly realises that you would be absolutely miserable and mediocre in medicine and that you might have a much brighter future in the arts, he might relent.
It might also be worthwhile to have your father meet your school teachers and counselors who can help in allaying his fears about the profession that you want to choose and convince him of your talent and passion for it. When he sees other adults supporting you in your decision, he might soften up.
All the best!
I recently did my Masters in Research and Education. I have got two choices now. Either I can study further full-time and do MPhil or I can look for a job in my chosen field. The admission to MPhil degree will open next year but before that I have to pass a test called GAT with at least 50% marks. I have started preparing for this test and at the same time am thinking of a job but am not sure if I will be able to handle both. I am quite confused and can’t seem to decide what to do. I would be thankful for your advice in this matter.
You are in a position where many students find themselves after completing their post-graduate studies, i.e. to study further while they are still in the swing of it and get another degree and thus become more qualified. Or to take a break from studies and get a job to get practical experience of what they studied at university.
Which of the two options is best? Frankly, that differs from person to person and situation to situation. For some it might be better to study more while for others it might be a good idea to take a break from studies and get a job. Juggling both together can be quite difficult and not everyone can cope with that.
Are you the sort of the person who can do both? Do you have enough time and resources to do both? Are you disciplined and committed enough to do both? These are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself and come up with honest answers.
To continue studying would be easier in the sense that it’s something that you have done uninterrupted all your life. It’s something you are used to and will be able to do without having to make any drastic changes to your life.
On the other hand, to start working will be a new and hopefully a positive experience for you. You will start using practically what you spent all those years in university studying about. That’s usually a liberating and fulfilling experience. And the fact that you will be earning is also a big attraction.
Many people get a job after post-graduation studies, work for a few years and then later on take a break from work to go back to university. This is a good option for those who want to take a break from studies after completing university. The downside to this is that many people, once they go out in the practical world, are unable to find time or the desire to return to university again, especially if they are earning well.
Some people try to counter this by working full-time and studying part-time through evening, distance or online courses. This is a good option but again takes a lot of time and dedication and is not for everyone.
What you now need to do is to figure out what is best for you. Take a piece of paper and write down the pros and cons of all the options available to you. Share these options with your family, friends, teachers, etc. Their advice should be greatly helpful as not only do they know you, they would also be looking at it from their perspectives. Thus you will get a broader picture of what would be the best course of action for you.
Also talk to your class mates and hear what their plans and ideas for future are. That could be helpful. If possible, also talk to people already doing MPhil at your university about their experiences. What path did they choose and why? Talk to people who got a job after completing Masters. What were their reasons and what are their experiences? Delve both into the positive and negative aspects of both the situations. Compare and contrast and then take a step. All the effort that you put in now to research and plan your future will help you immensely in making the right decision for you.
I hope you will be able to take a decision that will turn out well for you. Just remember one thing, life is full of choices and while we should take great care that we make the best choices possible, there are times when what we thought was best for us doesn’t turn out that way. This is quite natural and happens more or less to everyone. The trick then is not to get disheartened or hopeless and give up but to learn from the unexpected challenges and to move on. That’s what life is all about. All the best!
I am a forty years old Lebanese man living in Dubai, UAE for the past twenty five years. I am married with two children. I got married at the age of thirty to my wife MA who was twenty five at the time. MA is a good woman and the decade that we have spent together has been one of happiness and contentment. She is a good wife to me and a good mother to our children. She is a housewife and takes really good care of our home and family. She has never given me any cause for complain. Although at times I felt our marriage had become a bit boring and monotonous over the years, I never gave it much thought believing that this happened as years go by, that the magic couldn’t last forever. That is until JL came in my life.
It all started a year ago. JL, who is twenty seven, joined our company as a PR executive where I have been working for the past five years and am now a director there. She was vivacious, outgoing, lively, good looking and very confident. Many men in our office tried hitting on her but she ignored everyone. Because of my senior position in the company and having a wife and children, I didn’t try to befriend her in the manner the other men tried to. I think this appealed to her and she started showing interest in me. At first I thought it was just out of professional duties as she knew I was married with kids but as time passed she made it quite clear how much she liked me and enjoyed my company. It was a big boost for my ego, to be approached by the most good looking young woman in our company. I didn’t decline her advances and we started going out together. One thing led to another and we soon started having an affair. This affair has been going on for more than six months now. I have fallen in love with her and want to spend the rest of my life with her. She too wants the same.
The problem is that she is unwilling to accept my wife. Being a Muslim, I can have two wives at the same time. Although JL is also a Muslim, she is against my having two wives at the same time. She has made it quite clear that she would only marry me if I were to divorce my wife, MA. She is willing to accept my children if I share their custody with their mother, MA.
I have thought a lot about it and though I don’t feel very good about divorcing MA, not least because she has been such a good wife but also because of not having my children with me all the time under the same roof, I have decided that I will still go ahead with it as I love JL too much to lose her.
I spoke to my wife MA about divorce and naturally she was devastated. It was very painful to see how much of a shock she got when I told her that I loved somebody else. She was completely shattered and kept on crying for days at end. Eventually she accepted the idea of another woman in my life and begged me not to divorce her and let her stay married to me. I am a rich man and can quite easily afford to keep two wives in two separate homes. But JL is adamant. She has threatened to walk out of my life if I don’t divorce MA within three months. I am in a quandary now. I love JL and don’t want to lose her. At the same time, I don’t feel happy divorcing MA because of no fault of her own. What should I do?
Let me start by saying that you are being quite selfish and self-centered in this whole episode. All you are thinking of is yourself, your love and your happiness. You are not giving much consideration to the other people involved who would be dramatically and negatively affected by this action of yours, meaning your wife and children.
MA has given you ten of the best years of her life. She has given you two children. She has been a good wife to you and a good mother to your children. Do you honestly believe she deserves what you are planning to do to her? What would be her future after that? What would she go through emotionally? How many suitors would she find being divorced and a mother of two? She is already shattered and heart-broken.
And what about your children? Right now they have a happy and complete family. They come home to loving and caring parents – parents that are in the same house. Imagine what would their reaction be when their parents split up and start living in separate homes? How would they feel alternating their days living with their mother and father separately? How would they take it? They are quite young and the divorce of their parents is no doubt going to have a devastating effect on them. Instantly they would go from a complete home to a broken home. It most probably would affect them for years to come, if not their entire life. Are you ready to make your children go through all that?
Has JL met your children? Have you seen how she is with them? What guarantee do you have that she would prove to be a good mother to them and a good influence on them when the kids are over at your place? What I have gathered from your letter is that JL seems to be a selfish person who is only interested in her happiness and well being without giving two hoots about anyone else. If she truly loves you, as she claims, then why is she not willing to be the other wife? Why does she want you to divorce your first wife when yours and her religion allow it? She seems like a manipulative woman who knows she’s got you wrapped around her little finger and based on that is making demands that are cruel, unjust and would negatively affect your entire family. And how do you know that she truly loves you and is not with you because of your position, status, money, etc? If she truly loves you as she claims then how can she find it in herself to leave you after three months if you don’t divorce your wife? That’s not true love. That’s manipulation and cold calculation.
It’s perfectly normal to have feelings for two people at the same time. It happens. But what you need to ask yourself is that do you really love JL or is it just infatuation or lust? Do you really want to spend your whole life with her at the expense of breaking up your marriage and your children’s home? And what guarantee do you have that you won’t find being married to JL monotonous and boring after a few years?
I would advise you to seriously and impartially take stock of the whole situation. Weigh all the pros and cons. Consider the lives and happiness of all people involved. Do all this before taking any drastic measures.
I am a 23 years old young, educated woman living in Pakistan. I got married six months. My husband is a distant relative of mine whom I used to get to see on special occasions such as weddings when all the relatives got together. A year ago, right after I finished my MBA, his family approached my parents for my hand in marriage for him. My parents were quite happy with this proposal and accepted it. They did ask me about it and I agreed too. He seemed like a decent and caring chap and I was sure that I would be happy spending my life with him.
But alas this was not to be so. He is a decent and caring guy who loves me a lot but is under the thumb of his mother. My mother-in-law is a widow and as my husband is the only son, he does whatever his mother says. His mother is like a typical mother-in-law who seems to believe that a daughter-in-law’s main aim in life is to snatch her son away. She does everything in her power to try to influence my husband as much as she can, even in matters that do not relate to her. She literally rules over his life. She even chooses his clothes.
Last week was his birthday. I got him a sharp looking suit to wear to his office as he works in a prestigious multinational company. But my jealous mother-in-law ruined everything. She was quite critical of the suit that I had bought him. She came up with the silly excuse that it doesn’t go with his complexion and hair colour. Needless to say I was hurt and told her that I believed it would look very nice on him. That is all I said and she started accusing me of being rude and talking back to her. She started crying and my husband started consoling her. This resulted in my husband and I having our first major spat. He believes that I was rude to his mother and even if she did say something, I shouldn’t have reacted.
I was very hurt and disappointed by his reaction. I felt as if I had no importance in his life, that it was only his mother that he cared about, not me. I told him this later but he claims that he loves me and wants us to be happy together as a family including his mother. But it all seems just words to me especially since he didn’t side with me in my argument with his mum. Tell me honestly. Was I wrong? Was I being rude? What should I do? I want my husband and me to spend quality time together, develop a deep and meaningful relationship but my mother-in-law is not letting that happen.
Dear Hurt Wife,
What you are feeling is absolutely natural and to a great degree completely justified. The relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law at best is usually always a tricky and tumultuous one, especially so in the part of the world where you come from where couples don’t always live alone and some member(s) of the family, a parent or a sibling or even more people, live together.
Living in a setup like that requires tact, patience and understanding because things always don’t happen as you want them to. A lot of adjustments have to be made.
There can be many reasons why your mother-in-law is being difficult towards you. She may be feeling less important to her child (or still see them as a child rather than someone’s spouse). She might be having difficulty standing behind someone else in their child’s life.
She might be feeling insecure and less valued. Before you married her son, she was the only woman in his life. Now she has to share him with you. This might be making her feel as if she has lost the importance in her son’s life. And because she also happens to be a widow and the fact that she just has one son, she might be thinking that if she loses him to you, she won’t have anyone left in this world to call her own. Justified or not, this is a very real fear that she must be going through. Therefore, you need to understand this and try to cut her some slack wherever possible without losing your dignity and self-respect.
You will have to be patient and accommodating with her and try to talk things out with her. Try to convince her that you don’t mean to snatch her son away from her, that you love him a lot too and want to take care of him too as she does. She might not warm up to the idea immediately but you will have to be persistent and firm on this matter. Hopefully, when she sees that you too want the best for him without her losing him to you, she might start accepting this.
Another reason could simply be that she may be a completely different person from you. She might be petty and vindictive by nature and someone who loves making trouble. I hope this is not the case. If it is, then you seriously need to consider whether you want to stay with her under the same roof or not.
You will also need to talk to your husband and make him understand that as a wife you love him and want to be part of his life in every way, including picking out gifts for him. Tell him that his taking his mother’s side unconditionally everytime is bound to have a negative effect on your marriage. Try to make him understand that you don’t mean or want to be rude to his mother and that his mother also needs to show you some respect. Tell him gently that it could become very difficult to carry on with a relationship if episodes like this keep on happening on a regular basis. Try to convince him that you are not trying to take him away from his mother or being disrespectful to his mother.
If he is a man of reason then hopefully he would understand. But if he is the sort of man who lets his judgement get clouded because of his sense of duty and love towards his mother, he might find your point of view quite difficult to grasp. Unless your spouse is willing to take charge, outline clear boundaries over which the mother must not step, and be willing to follow up these statements with action and definitive consequences, you will have to face the fact that you will not be able to ever change this relationship. In that scenario, you need to consider if you would like to stay on this relationship if it keeps on carrying like this.
Lastly, don’t expect miracles instantly. It will take time for things to work out, if they do work out. So be patient and try to work towards making things better.
I am a 45 years old, single, Polish woman living in Krakow. I am writing to you because I have this strong feeling in me that I am a failure, that I have failed in more or less in everything that I attempted in life, be it education, career, relationships or anything else. I don’t know why this has happened to me. I have worked hard and given it my best but it still never was good enough. I never achieved the success which others had. People I knew who were younger and junior than me have gone on to better positions in life and I am stuck in the same rut. In fact, if anything it feels as if I am going in the opposite direction, from bad to worse. I can’t cope with this feeling of being a failure anymore. I want to feel that I am a success, that I have achieved something in life but don’t know how. When I look at my past, all I see are my failures, nothing else. I don’t want to live with these regrets anymore. What should I do? How can I get rid of this feeling of being a failure in life?
Dear Alicja Jagoda,
First of all, you need to ease up on yourself. You are being very hard on yourself. Ask yourself if you are being honest with yourself when you do that. Granted that you might have failed in many things in life but that does not mean you are a failure. Not at all!
Punishing yourself is the least productive thing you can do. Learning from your choices is self empowering and exciting. At least you have a good story to tell. Beating yourself down can quickly make you ashamed and afraid. It’s hard to realise that you’re being self-destructive.
There are many people in life who are afraid to dream big or to attempt anything grand in life because they are afraid that it would fail. They are scared of failure. They get so used to this way of thinking that it prevents them from trying new experiences, no matter how easy or small they might. They are content (but not happy) living their lives in their comfort zone and are afraid to venture out of it.
You on the other hand are the opposite. You have the courage and willpower to try new things, which you have done throughout your life – Kudos for that! It doesn’t matter that you failed many times. What really matters is that you tried – that you got out of your comfort zone and gave it your best. It takes strength, character and confidence to do that. Be proud of yourself that you have these attributes. Not many people have them.
Try to get to the bottom of why you failed in most of your endeavours. It could be because of different reasons. Rather than blaming yourself or feeling self-pity, you need to find out why you failed, how you could have done things differently to achieve better results. You need to analyse this calmly, rationally and systematically. Ask yourself why you think you failed. It can help you realise your hopes and dreams.
Try again. Luckily, you have a failure under your belt with which to navigate the next adventure in your life.
I am a 25 years old guy who just started working in a multinational company a few months ago. This is my first job after completing my studies. I have started at a good post and the future prospects look very promising.
There is one problem though. The culture of my workplace is quite negative. There are many negative people in my office who are always grumbling and complaining about something or the other. I like my work, I enjoy it and have no reason to complain about anything or feel negative about my company. But the constant complaining of other is getting me down and I have begun to feel stressed. I definitely don’t want to leave this job as there are many opportunities for me in this company but at the same time I don’t want to stay and work in the current negative work environment. What should I do? Shall I complain about these negative people to my senior manager? Do you think that would be helpful?
Sick of Negativity
Dear Sick of Negativity,
The moods and thinking of negative people are pervasive – nervous energy, anger, sadness, complaints, and clinginess – a view of the world constantly tinged with negativity. And if you happen to be caught up with negative people daily in your life, by letting their negativity get to you, it can erode your own sense of self and deflate even the most optimistic outlook. Constant negative emotions can lead to illness and a shortened lifespan – negative people are not healthy for themselves or for you. And since misery loves company, miserable people will try to drag you into their fold; however, take charge of defending yourself and learn how to break free from negative attitudes around you, to sustain your healthy, fulfilling, and optimistic outlook.
The atmosphere in your workplace is negative. This negativity can be because of varied reasons but it will have an impact on you because on the average an individual spends about 40 to 60% of time during weekdays at work place. Here are few steps to deal with negativity at workplace:
- Look into the reasons for the current situation. The reasons can be because of external influences like unhealthy competition, bullying by colleagues at work place, unsupported boss, difficult client, technical issues etc. You can visit the sequence of incidents which had led to the situation. Jotting down the points or incidents will help you analyse the situation. Also this jotted list can be used for discussion with the people concerned.
- Try to get to know negative people a little better. Talk to them. May be they are not aware of it. Make them aware of it. Ask them why they are so negative. People who are negative usually have self issues, such as confidence or low self esteem. Talk to them and ask them what’s wrong, and find a way you can work around their negativity.
- Try to bring positivity in their life. Perhaps there is something that you could do that would make them happy and not be so negative. Find out what that is and if possible, do it.
- Listen selectively when engaging in any conversation. Seek to hold onto the positive and constructive aspects of any conversation. Train your mind to consciously throw out the bad essence of the conversation. It becomes a matter of choosing what it is you wish to dwell on; allow the good side to hold stronger for you and to serve as the thoughts you focus and ponder on. When a negative person starts getting really trying, return positive energy through positive words or suggestions that are supportive. Doing this creates a space between you; while the other person may be internally struggling to refute to your positive insistence, it is clear to them that you aren’t going to be won over to the dark side!
- If all else fails then avoid them. Ignore negativity. For example, if you are at work and you are in a group and they start going on about how bad the job is, just walk away or listen to some music instead. Disengage yourself from their company politely by minimizing contact until a healthy distance can be maintained. You need this time to ponder and reflect on saving and preserving yourself, drawing on the optimism, hope and positive energy you have within.
- Remind yourself (silently) that you are a wonderful, unique, kind, helpful, special person. Keep repeating this to yourself in your head as you talk to that person.
- Remember to realise that just because someone else is negative does not mean that you have to be. Realize that your life is positive and that you are in control of your emotions. Do not let their negativity rub off on you. Maintain a positive attitude no matter what.
Talking to your senior manager could help but do it in a tactful way. Instead of downright complaining about the negative people in your office, suggest ways to make the atmosphere more positive in your office. You could do this by volunteering to organise a workshop on positivity. You could call in an expert who can come in and give helpful tips on how to avoid negativity and be more positive in life. Not only would this be helpful in improving the atmosphere in your office, you would also get credited as being someone who is proactive and encourages a good working environment; qualities that senior management is always looking for in their employees.
I am a 55 years old businessman. My wife passed away a few months ago. We had been married for nearly 30 years. We had no children. We just had each other and now she’s gone. I miss her terribly. Life seems so meaningless and not worth living without her. I wake up each day and go through the motions of a typical life without being interested or experiencing joy in anything. When I am at home, everything reminds me of her. When I am out at work, I constantly keep on thinking about her. I try to keep myself busy in my business but it isn’t helping.
My siblings, who are all very close to me, are very worried about me. They have suggested that I remarry. I was shocked to hear this. I can’t imagine a life with any other woman after my wife. I have told them so. They say they understand but want me to have a complete home again with a life partner. I, on the other hand, can’t imagine being with any other woman. Even the thought makes me sick. It makes me feel as I would be cheating on my dear, departed wife. I know they mean well but how do I make them understand that that’s something I don’t want.
Dear Widowed Husband,
First of all, please accept my condolences on the demise of your wife. May God have mercy on her and bless her with a place in heaven. Amen!
It’s been a tragic loss for you and what you are feeling right now is completely natural. The feeling of life having no meaning and being uninterested towards everything is normal. This is how it will be for quite some time. Right now you are going through what is call the grieving period. This is the time when one is the saddest after losing someone, when everything seems unrealistic, when nothing in life holds any charm or happiness, when everything – even the normal everyday chores – seem like a burden.
With time, things will improve. This does not mean that you will forget your wife. What it means is that you will come to terms with the fact that she is no longer with you and that you have to move on with living a normal, emotionally healthy life. It will take some time – depending on you – but it will eventually happen. There will come a time when you will be able to think of your wife without feeling as much pain as you do now. There will be good days when everything would seem fine and then there would be bad days when you simply won’t be able to bear the loss of her. Hopefully, as time passes, there will be more good days than bad ones.
Although your siblings mean well, as they want to see you happy and settled, I believe it’s too early – in the state that you are in – to be attached to someone else. You are still very much living in the past with the memories of your wife. Right now, it must be unfathomable for you to think of any other woman. And rightly so. Please tell your siblings that at present you don’t even want to think of any other woman, let alone contemplate marriage. Try to make them understand that you need time – as much time as you want, not as much as they want to give you. Talk to them politely but firmly so they don’t keep on pressurising you constantly. The condition you are in, pressure is the last thing you want. Tell them that when they talk about you marrying again, it pains you and makes you sad. Being the loving siblings that they are, I am sure they would understand eventually.
Lastly, give yourself time. Time to think, time to feel, time to assess your situation and your feelings as they evolve over the coming months and years. This would allow you to plan what would be best for you in your given circumstances.
Also don’t close any possibilities. You don’t know how you would be feeling in the future. Therefore, don’t make any decisions in favour of or against remarriage right now.
Also don’t rush into anything. Time is a great healer. Give it a few months, even years if you want. If and when you feel you are emotionally ready to move on then think about getting married again. Not before that. Otherwise it won’t be fair to you and the new woman who comes in your life.
All the best!