Always feeling inferior

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Saturday, May 31, 2014


Dear Cindy,

I’m in my 20s and feel everybody is doing better than I am. It’s not really true but I can’t help feeling miserable.

I have a college degree and I am now studying for my masters. A masters degree entails hard work, but all my friends who have had their doctorates have passed their exams with flying colors. They now have better jobs and earn more money.

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My boyfriend’s been with me for six years and my family thinks I’m miserable because he is just an ordinary person with an ordinary job.

My self-esteem is so low. I don’t feel intelligent and I think people won’t rate high me because my boyfriend doesn’t have a job that needs high education. I do need your advice. Thank you.

Gemma

Dear Gemma,
It’s really sad. There are people who I think are marvelous, but they just can’t see it. If they have a sibling who is more pretty or clever, their life is spent trying to be as good as this attractive or more successful sibling. They feel that whatever they do they’ll lose.

The solution is to let those people we compare ourselves with to live their own lives. Walk your own path through life and start appreciating your own qualities and achievements.

Gemma, you set yourself up as a competitor with your friends. Your family suggests that you have the wrong boyfriend and you think people will judge you by him. You’re constantly setting the bar at six meters and trying to jump over it. Your whole life is spent, not supporting and being supported by your friends, but competing with them. Why?

In life, you’ll find plenty of people who’ll tell you, “What you need is…” You start to grow up when you ask, “What do I need?” Take a giant step towards the time when you will say, “This one’s for me…” That’s when you stop letting the opinions and wishes of others determine where you go. You have to move to that ground when you are doing something that’s important to you.

Take your boyfriend. Your parents say you’re miserable because he’s “ordinary.” Is he? Maybe they are right. Maybe he’s the only person you’ve been out with. It’s a safe relationship and you’re used to it. You don’t want to try anything different because you’re scared you’d fail. The other scenario is that he’s the only person you’ve ever wanted to be with, you love him and he is the man for you. If that’s the case, you should stick to what you feel about him.

Go by your emotions. Gemma, you should tell your parents what you think and feel. You count too. You’re important. Tell them that he isn’t the cause of misery. You and I know that the cause of your being miserable lies with you. You’re constantly comparing yourself with others when the person you should be concentrating on is you.

God bless,
Cindy

What is the grasshopper syndrome?

Dear Dr. Dana,,

I have a friend who is strong on being impulsive but so feeble on follow through. I mean, she graduated from college years ago, but is still flitting from career to career. At 30, she’s already been a call center agent, front desk officer and a photographer.

Charmingly eccentric? Yes, but that’s the problem. She lacks constancy and jumps headfirst into every sudden passion. Which is fine for loners but not for people with friends, relatives and lovers. She doesn’t spend much time worrying about how her actions affect other people.
Is my friend suffering from the “grasshopper syndrome”? I’ve read that this kind of person doesn’t keep friends long. I do so would like to know more about this syndrome.

Jinny

Dear Jinny,

Many emotionally healthy young women prepare for flight when a job becomes too demanding or a relationship starts to feel routine. Mind you, when you’re young and “finding yourself,” a certain amount of direction-changing is only to be expected.

Look around at your friends and colleagues. There’s a grasshopper in virtually every office, usually a recently hired employee who spends most of her time thinking about how great things might be at her next job. She’s bright and lovely, she may even have vision, but she lacks commitment and her boss knows that she won’t be around for long.

Grasshoppers often lose out when it comes to romance, too. They enjoy dating but they are always restless, looking over their shoulder for someone funnier, sexier, more sensitive. And if they actually find a man who meets all their ideas, they back off fast. Bored by the idea of regularity and commitment, many grasshoppers are driven towards danger by the exhilaration of risk-taking.

They have a grandiose sense of entitlement. They feel they deserve to have everything their own way. If something goes just a little bit wrong, they move on. Whatever the cause of their fickleness, they are never satisfied and always feel compelled to keep every option open.

Rather than accept what they have already own—a good relationship, a serious job—they still want to risk it all on the chance of doubling their money. Ultimately, of course, they may end up with the booby prize—nothing at all. Then the fun is over, the emptiness and pain are intense and its time for a grasshopper to begin to move towards tenacity. And this means recognizing the extent of the problem and realizing that being flighty can permeate the whole of your life.

Very truly yours,
Dr. Dana R. Sesante

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 01, 2014.

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