My name is Idhiya Raj from Chennai. I currently work in Yuva Active Advocacy forum, Chennai as a District coordinator .
I grew up as an independent child, with very limited exposure to the world outside. However, I always believed in myself and knew myself very well – both my positives and negatives. Since childhood, I have worked towards enhancing my positive qualities, and avoided my negatives. I was always scared of trying anything new because I feared failure. I did not bother about converting this negative trait of fear into something positive, but continued to ignore it.
This quality of focusing only on my strengths made me pick the Commerce stream in class 11, only because I did not like Math and Science. I successfully passed 12th grade, but in college I had no option but to take B.com, because I was a Commerce student. All that I wanted was to complete my undergraduate degree, and work in a big MNC. I had no intentions of doing a PG.
Later, in a public gathering, I met my friend’s brother who was doing his Master’s degree in Social Work. Even though I had no other knowledge about Social Work, the field work component caught my imagination, and I decided to pursue my postgraduate degree in Social Work.
Towards the end of my final year of undergraduation, I met with a very serious road accident. My treatment was challenging, and the recovery forced me to remain at home for almost one and a half years. That was when my father asked me to consider doing a PG. I immediately said I would pursue Social Work, even though it was based on just one interaction with my friend’s brother. I enrolled for the Social Work course at Madras Christian College in 2013. All these things just happened. I had nothing planned.
Through all these unexpected challenges, my support system has had a great impact upon me:
1) My parents – I am immensely blessed to have parents who never forced their wishes upon me. They always allowed me to pursue my interest without questioning me, or doubting my capabilities. Without their belief in me, I don’t think I would have travelled this far.
2) Madras Christian College (Social work department) – I am always grateful to my Department. My professors always pushed me and given me motivation. They helped me discover my leadership skills and gave me a lot of opportunities and exposure. My friends also encouraged me. This was the first place in which I was force to challenge failure.
3) Mr.Arun Durairaj* (Director Hope Torch) – The day I met him at Coffee Day in Kilpauk back in 2013 was the day my life changed completely. I always believed that failure disappoints me. All my life, I had focused on my strengths. Ironically, not focusing on my negative qualities turned out to be my biggest negative quality!
My experience of working with Mr. Arun for 4 years made me value my worth. I was inspired by his thoughts and his approach to life. He was there every time when I felt low and whenever I lost my momentum. He would always say that we have to work on our negative qualities. Even though I could not implement what he said all the time, he persisted, and asked me to work on them.
I had mentioned earlier that failure used to disturb me. But in the 4 years of working with him, he taught me the value of “it’s OK”. If was not able to execute the tasks planned ahead of him/ her, he taught us to say “it’s OK”, to move on and focus on what has to be done next. I learned from him, the importance of moving on, and never regretting or fearing failure. I have definitely changed, but only for the better. By focusing on my negatives and my thought process, I feel I am more complete as a person now compared to what I was in 2012.
To conclude, one’s support system plays a vital role during failure. Whenever we feel low, our support system helps us to push forward.
Yes! Now I agree that “Failure is an option”. We must never lose hope. We must believe and value our worth. At times we fail. Just say OK and move on. Let’s start to discover our self worth!