In a capitalist world there is competition everywhere and every individual is working and struggling to achieve their goals. In all of this chaos and stressful life, they tend to ignore their inner feelings and emotions which lead to the gradual deterioration of their mental state, self confidence and self esteem. The youth today suffer from loss of self esteem resulting from the vast competition in the so called “teen world”, the social media culture and the bullying that comes with it. In the Nepali context, competition among teens is very evident on social media as well as in schools. In a majority of households, parenting by Nepali couples is still old school/ traditional and to make matters worse, the schools around Nepal are no better. The same old style of rearing and teaching makes it difficult for the Nepali youth to gain confidence and end up lagging behind when competing in the international arena.

The Nepali society has a long set of unspoken rules which everyone is expected to abide by, and meeting those expectations of family and society makes the child  uncomfortable and unable to express their own views and ideas. We can see the result of these little things lowering people’s confidence and preventing them from freely expressing themselves, Within such a society, one of the biggest fears is public speaking and presentations; My Emotions Matter is an education company that helps students, teachers, and working professionals develop emotional intelligence. My Emotions Matter is a space that exists because they believe in a more self-aware and empathetic world.

Self-reflective sessions were first conducted when they came across two willing participants, Prajwol Wagle and Aprajita Jha, who were eager to join the organization after having seen personal development in themselves. Encouraged by the initial feedback from participants, they started ‘My Emotions Matter’ to impact more lives through emotional intelligence. Then enter Asmi Shrestha; former Miss Nepal who was looking for an avenue to add value to people’s lives, having transformed herself through the power of self-reflection. My Emotions Matter was a space where she could share what she had learned through her Miss Nepal journey which boosted her self confidence. As good friends, Asmi and Sagar got together to talk and that paved the way for Asmi to join their mission.

They started #Starthere which is an expression of new beginnings for the youth who seek their guidance. Wanting to enrich the lives of people through the skills of emotional intelligence, #StartHere is that first step for individuals aged 18-25 to reflect and work on themselves. Everybody wants to grow and contribute but many of us feel stuck; not knowing where to begin and that lack of self-confidence is a widespread problem among the Nepali youth in general. Shrestha says, “We started #StartHere, which provides a nurturing environment for shy, hesitant, and under-confident individuals to explore and express themselves. We believe in developing self-confidence through self-awareness” So at #StartHere, they ask people the right questions and provide them with a fun and engaging environment to reflect on self through which one can build self-confidence.

Creating reflective experiences helps to develop emotional intelligence in students, teachers, and people from the corporate sector. The #StartHere program is attended by individuals who want to learn more about themselves, express themselves, and gain self-confidence. Surveys so far have suggested that the program has helped participants increase their self-confidence by 52.32%.

The World Economic Forum predicts emotional intelligence to be the 6th most important skill in the workplace by 2020. Their EI 360 programs for the corporate world and Super Teacher programs for teachers help them develop self-awareness and empathy so that they can find meaning in their relationships and work. Bhawana and her team believe self-confidence comes from identifying and engaging with one’s life stories. Participants are able to reflect on their lives so that they come to realize their lives hold significance. The sessions are designed to help participants express what they have learnt about themselves, which in turn makes them gain self-clarity and build self-esteem, while also developing empathy by listening to other people’s perspectives.

Although they don’t work on clinical issues like depression and anxiety, becoming emotionally intelligent can help with one’s well-being. They believe that to develop self-awareness, we need to pay attention to how we feel. After all, events in themselves aren’t inherently good or bad; it is just our perception of them. So the emphasis is on developing their emotional vocabulary and learning more about themselves so that they know what will make them happier, less stressed, and find meaning in their lives.

Developing a model called LISTEN- Listen, Introspect, Share, Try, Express, and Nurture, helping individuals know themselves and others around them  better, backed by values of growth, depth, and care. They provide a safe, fun, and engaging environment for people to come in and reflect so that they can live a life that is meaningful to them.

With the positive idea of making a difference, Bhawana Shrestha says, “Our hope is that emotional intelligence doesn’t become a vague, often un-heard of, or elusive term but rather an essential skill that individuals come to know about and make a part of their lives.” My Emotions Matter looks forward to organizing different workshops, sessions, as well as discussions through events and media outlets to encourage people to embrace the concept of emotional intelligence in living a life that is more intentional and purposeful. It is a much needed space for today’s youth to express themselves, building their self esteem and confidence to forge ahead strongly towards their future goals.