Enrich Your Life Skills & Career
Dr. Jitendra Nagpal
Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable our youngsters to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. These are a set of human skills acquired via teaching or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life. Dr. Jitendra Nagpal is a Life Skills Coach. He is a developmental trainer in youth wellbeing and soft skills for the schools, colleges and corporate sector. In this regular column, he will answer the questions of our readers
Question : I am 18 years old and I am quite confused and unaware of sex and sexual issues. My friends seem to know quite a lot and I keep hearing different things about it. That confuses me as I feel that even they do not have proper information. I feel shy asking my parents or teachers but I am very curious. What should I do? Is it appropriate to discuss with my friends only?
Answer : The beautiful transition from childhood to adulthood is the period you are traversing. Being aware with responsibility is the charm and challenge of this fascinating period of life. Besides physical and psychological transformation, it is a period when teenagers get mixed signals from the society often resulting in confusion, frustration and risk taking behaviours. Awareness regarding adolescent reproductive and sexual health does help in preparing young people like you to have responsible attitudes and awareness to the larger aspects of sexuality like gender, HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and most importantly a sound personal hygiene.
Having the right knowledge will enable you to have a healthy attitude about sex in your adult life and healthier relationships. Curiosity about these issues at this age is quite normal. Do not feel guilty or awkward about it. These impulses are natural and should be explored with an open mind. If you cannot talk to your parents, then talk a reliable adult or your school counsellor. Counsellors are open and non judgemental and are trained to educate people about these issues and would be able to provide you with the correct knowledge. You can then share the correct facts with your peers and spread awareness. Being aware and responsible is part of growing up with the currents times.
Ques : I am 21 years old, a student of Delhi University. I often feel out of place when on the campus. I have very low or rather zero self-confidence and just cannot face people. I am often feeling dominated by others or mocked by them and I can never answer back or be clearly social. Please help me, how do I work on my self-confidence and the way I value myself?
Ans : Self-confidence is indeed desirable to maintaining of good mental health and wellbeing. To begin with, make a clear cut assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Nurture your strengths and make them a part of your personality. That will help you build your confidence. Learn to be assertive in order to avoid unnecessary domination. Ascertain your boundaries and communicate. Don’t hesitate to tell your friends when they trample your feelings or cross your boundaries. They will respect you for your honesty. Work out exactly what you want to accomplish and set goals. This will bring structure and you'll have clarity and purpose about what your life is about. Include work, family, social and personal aspects and each time you achieve a goal, give yourself a little reward. The feeling of accomplishment will increase your confidence significantly.
Sometimes a change in appearance helps. Let go of the past. You can shape whatever happens from now on and create a new, confident you. Drop self-deprecation. If you repeatedly put yourself down, it will knock confidence right out of you. Avoid indulging in self-criticism. Frequently remind yourself of all of the good things you have done. Spend more time with positive people who support you and make you feel good. Negative people erode confidence like rust upon metal. Confide your problem to a close friend and he/she may be able to help you in communicating with others. Connect with supportive people and recuperate their interest in you. You will feel better.