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Lalita Felt ‘Dumb’ Around Her Husband’s Friends… Here’s How She Got Her Confidence Back

04 Apr 2017

Lalita was only 18 years old when her parents married her off to Hemant. While she had grown up in a small town and topped her class 12 in a Hindi medium school, he had been born and brought up in Mumbai. He'd never been as good as her academically, but he more than made up for it with his polished ways. She'd wanted to study further, and had shown promise in her chosen field of science, but being so young she did not have the strength to go against her parents' wishes.

When Lalita shifted to Mumbai after her wedding, she was overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of the big city. At her wedding reception she was introduced to all of Hemant's friends and colleagues. She felt out of place and didn't understand their jokes and conversations fully. Over the next few months this feeling of isolation and not belonging kept intensifying and she found herself dreading any get together. She felt all her husband's friends and colleagues laughed at her behind her back. She'd been a different, more confident person back in her hometown and she didn't like this feeling that had taken root in her.

Fortunately, she had developed a close friendship with her sister-in-law, Mandavi,  who was also a young woman like her. Mandavi had for long observed Lalita struggling to fit into the Mumbai social scene. Having not experienced a similar situation herself, though, she urged Lalita to speak to a counsellor.  It took some convincing but Lalita finally agreed.

The counsellor helped Lalita understand the cause of her discomfort.  Her self-esteem had suffered  due to the strangeness of her surroundings and the new people in her life who didn't understand her. She suggested some basic tips for Lalita to regain her confidence.

The counsellor and Lalita had several sessions over the phone. By the first few of them Lalita had received some important insights. Firstly, the counsellor asked her to stop criticising herself and to remember all the accomplishments she had to her name. She advised her to return to science—her first true love—in some capacity. She told her not to compare herself with her husband's friends, but to show them who she really is. That they may also not know how to connect with her and maybe they weren't mocking her at all. Lastly, she told herself to find people who were supportive of her and to spend more time with them.

Lalita immediately set to work. She found out about giving science tuitions in her neighbourhood and as soon as she stared, she could feel the same love for the subject flood through her again. She remembered how good she was at the subject and how much happiness it brought her. Joining the neighbourhood coaching centre also introduced her to other teachers and soon she had made friends with some of them. Slowly, she could feel her confidence return.

When Hemant announced they had to go to a dinner party, she decided it was time she showed his friends her true self. That night she walked into the party with a smile and said hello to everyone. During the evening she heard someone debating on the causes of climate change and stepped in to correct them and explain it to them. Hemant's friends were awestruck at her in-depth knowledge on the subject and started asking her more questions. Hemant too was proud that Lalita had found her place in the sun. Lalita was ecstatic, she had rediscovered herself and knew she would never feel out of place again.

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Tags: confidence, self, sadness, low self worth, well being, coping, assertiveness