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Mind Matters | The burden of family pressure

Mind Matters | The burden of family pressure

I’m 25 years old and have just completed my bachelor’s degree. I’m currently looking for a job. I realize acquiring additional skills could have made my job search easier and quicker. My parents compare me with other people’s children and that is affecting my mental health. Despite putting in my best effort and working on self-improvement, the pressure from my family members overwhelms me. Due to budget constraints, I can’t spend quality time with friends, who mostly come from more financially privileged backgrounds. I find it challenging to understand why achieving goals is so difficult for someone like me who comes from a modest background.

Answered by Kapil Sharma, counseling psychologist, Nepal Institute of Mental Health

Firstly, Congratulations on completing your bachelor’s degree. It’s important to acknowledge your hard work and dedication, even when it gets challenging. 

Navigating family expectations is a common experience. It often leads to delays in career and personality development. It’s important to remember that everybody’s journey is unique and minimize comparison with others. Having an honest chat with your family is crucial. Let them know how their behavior is affecting you, creating a space for understanding and support. This step can contribute to fostering a healthier environment for personal and professional growth. 

Social comparison sometimes leads to social isolation, particularly when comparing oneself to individuals from financially stable backgrounds. Instead of prioritizing the number of friends, it is more beneficial to focus on building connections based on shared values and interests. True friendships come from sharing experiences and understanding each other, not from comparing financial stability. Instead of comparing yourself to others, consider comparing your current self with your past self.

You are worthy enough, you have to start believing in yourself. Achieving goals is a subjective matter, and your family background might not be the only reason why you are unable to achieve them. Other barriers might be at play. Your effort and progress are commendable, so it’s important to recognize and celebrate your small accomplishments as well.

If it’s challenging to achieve your goal, you can break down the goal into smaller, more manageable steps, making it easier to achieve them gradually. There are low-cost opportunities for skill development, such as online courses, workshops, and networking events.

If you are working on those aspects and find that life is still challenging, consider seeking support. Seeking support involves having open conversations with your family members, and discussing feelings and emotions. If you feel overwhelmed, helpless, or like nobody understands you, it might be a good idea to visit a mental health professional. They can provide valuable coping strategies, a safe space for self-reflection, and assistance in exploring emotions.

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