(Part III in a series of Blogs written by kids of P.E.T.)
Blog post by: Mr. Adolph Malan – Pretoria, South Africa
Let’s start off by saying that I was born as a middle child. Immediately you can formulate all the various stereotypes regarding the middle child, and I can tell you most of them are actually quite true. But, it was just my luck, that I was born with even more personality quirks, and different outlooks on life than the average middle child.
Since I was very young, I would set up life goals for myself. For instance my mother and father never had to tell, or ask me to go do my homework etc. Sounds like a parent’s dream right? But here’s the thing: I would set up my goals, but with very, very unrealistic standards for myself. For instance: I would want to achieve a mark of 80% for mathematics, but I would not understand the work that the teacher explained. Instead of asking for help from everyone, I told myself that I would be able to achieve this goal without any external help. The result would be me achieving a mark of say 60% and I would be really disappointed with myself, and would be really hard on myself. Telling myself that I wasn’t smart, or didn’t work hard enough etc.
This happened in almost all aspects of my life: sport, music, relationships etc. The result would be wrung out with stress, and nearing depression. But that’s where PET came in.
The one thing I can tell you with upmost certainty is that PET has helped me, most of all, to be self aware. To be in tune with my feelings and emotions. I still set up unrealistic expectations for myself, that’s just who I am and what I do, but PET has helped me, say if I did not achieve my goal, to sit back and really investigate why I am feeling the way I do and whether or not the way I’m feeling towards myself is unfair. I am able to allow myself to experience all the emotions that make me, me, and then be able to make fair, rational decisions about myself and my life.
But unrealistic expectations aside, the other difficulty in my life came with connecting with other people on a social, and emotional level. I see things differently and very much more logically than the average person. I sometimes had, and sometimes still do, trouble understanding other people’s emotions and opinions. Imagine Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory. Not only that, but the way other people behaved or treated others, always baffled me, and I could never fully partake in the typical teenage boy’s world. For example: at the age of 13, in a circle of testosterone fuelled male friends, they would talk of nothing other than girls, and all they entail. I could not, and would stand in the circle just nodding politely, with absolutely no idea about their fascination. This made me feel really insecure. Where I was concerned with rugby, superheroes, and my own hobbies, everybody else was having their first kiss. This went on as long as Matric, but PET has helped me throughout those years.
My parents allowed me to follow my own ideas, and gave me complete freedom to make my own choices. Instead of going to a boy-girl party, I would stay at home reading Harry Potter. I became very comfortable with myself, and stopped comparing myself to others. I became happy on my own terms, and that helped me develop in the man I am today. Living my life on my own terms, and not allowing society to influence or bend me to their expectations of how my life should be.
I find it easier as well to help my friends through difficult times, because of my own understanding I gained of my own self-being, I am able to help others understand their own.
It is because of PET that I am able to follow my own passions to my fullest potential. Nobody’s opinion about me affects me, because I know who I am. I still set the unrealistic goals, but I am able to realise that for myself now, and then adjust the goals accordingly.
What growing up with PET has done for me is to help me become truly happy. For more on my story, please see my video about how I managed to discover my passions, and it is all thanks to PET.