Swati Yadav, 24 and a postgraduate diploma student in sustainable management at Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal is a perfect example of why seeking counseling should not be limited to mental illnesses.
Touchwood, I didn’t really have any problem when I first connected with Atharva. I’m a very extroverted person. I like to talk to people so when I got this counseling opportunity, I saw it as a means to enhance my overall personality and get professional insights about my thought process.
As a person who can self motivate herself most of the time, Swati needed counseling as an outlet for her pent-up emotions. In her sessions, she shares everything that’s on her mind.
“Atharva and I talk candidly, like how two friends talk – what I am doing for my summer internship, my career interests, how much it is that I dislike a subject and want to clear it somehow, basically anything! Only here, I get to see what his views are and that helps me make better decisions.”
Moreover, what drives Swati towards seeking professional guidance is her strong mindset to acknowledge that counseling is nothing but a different and positive perspective.
“Honestly, we humans only talk to a handful of people – parents, friends or colleagues and in the end, we know them. After a certain point, it becomes monotonous and with all the negativity around, we sometimes need someone to only listen and tell us positive things without being judgmental.”
Swati strongly believes that counselors tell us what we need to hear but aren’t ready to accept. When she herself faced this in her relationship, her counselor – Atharva empowered her to do what was right for her.
It takes two people to make a relationship work and in my case, I felt it was only me who cared enough. I mentioned it to Atharva who suggested that if I’m not getting any good out of it and somewhere want to end it, I should learn to let go.
However, letting go was one thing that Swati wasn’t very good at. As someone who tries to hold on till the end and doesn’t like being in a position where people would blame her, she wanted to end her relationship only when she was ready.
“I’d known my partner from childhood and considering that we’d come so far in our relationship, I was emotionally invested in it. If we’re opening our heart to someone, an emotional connection matters but later I realised that the only person emotionally involved in it was me.”
Somewhere in her heart and mind, Swati knew that she had to end the relationship for her own good but that was the part that she struggled most with.
“Even if I’d try to leave, I’d still expect my partner to show some concern and there was never any. So even when we’d fight, I’d get upset, avoid him for sometime and eventually start talking as I can’t ignore people for long.”
When Swati told Atharva about her partner’s disinterest and cold responses, he suggested that she have a serious discussion and confront him asking about his expectations from the relationship.
I asked my partner where he sees our relationship going and he said – I don’t know, I’ve never really thought about it. This wasn’t new, he had told this to me in indirect ways multiple times before but this time, I had had enough.
Swati knew that as humans, we do ponder upon even the smallest of things that happen in our life, and if she had been important, her partner would have given their relationship a clear thought. The soft corner that she had for her partner had made her vulnerable to a point where she finally decided to end the relationship for good.
“I knew I wanted to end it and it makes no sense to continue. I got that push from my sessions with Atharva where I could accept that even if it hurt, even if the choice was tough, it was the right thing to do.”
After this, Atharva asked Swati about her next steps and what makes her happy today is the promise that she’s made to him to always put herself first and not go back to something that’s toxic.
“I’m very firm now and I can speak for myself. If I get a message from my partner again, I’d make it clear that if we both aren’t on the same page, there’s no means of even a small talk. I’m very satisfied where I am today. It feels good to reach a point where I don’t regret that I was in a relationship that wasn’t worth my time and emotions.”
Swati considers her expert as someone she can rely on. She appreciates how he always goes out of the way to cheer her up and to motivate her whenever she feels stuck or low.
Once, I was upset due to a family issue. So I ended up connecting with Atharva on a day which was actually out of his schedule. Not only did he talk to me but when I asked him to distract me, he narrated a short Akbar-Birbal story that ended with a beautiful phrase – this too shall pass 🙂
When Swati was looking for motivation to not think about her family issues, Atharva came to her rescue. She finds herself blessed to have such a supportive expert and his suggestions motivate her to become better overall – be it in her career or relationships.
“I as a person seek happiness and every Thursday, I always look forward to my sessions with Atharva. He encourages me to become better, not for someone else but for me. He doesn’t give me any magic potion to put all my extra thoughts to end but just talking to him makes me feel good.”
Additionally, Swati has accepted that issues are a part of life. There are better things that are waiting for her and she should look forward to them. In this light, her advice for those who hesitate from seeking help is crystal clear –
None of us like being seen as weak and that’s okay but if we are getting an opportunity of seeking counseling ONLINE where we can speak with a professional who is a complete stranger to us and won’t judge us for our problems, we’ve got nothing to regret over. So pick a random name and go ahead.
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