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Self-love came the hardest to her, says Manojita Chakraborty, as a single woman in India, impossible to not judge herself as she was by others. But, she’s getting there now.
I would want to start this with a kind of confession. We struggle with certain things and others come naturally to us. I have always struggled the hardest to love myself. I suppose it comes with the frailty of the human mind.
For me, growing up, self love was the hardest. For many many years, I strongly believed that I wasn’t good enough. At anything. As a response, I was programmed to take up – acing, as a kind of defence mechanism. I wanted to be good at things because, I had to prove myself. Sometimes, to family. Sometimes, to myself. Sometimes, to imaginary standards that I thought existed in the societal framework to measure success or happiness.
I believe a lot of young people go through this process throughout their formative years. Women probably more so than men. For us, this is personal. This is a continuous fight to assert your valid opinion, because the world around is mostly questioning your validity. Questioning the fact that you should have an opinion in the first place. And in this entire journey, we end up doubting, questioning, everything that is good. This happens a lot. Happened to me. Still keeps happening all the time.
Being an unattached, thirty year old woman, who likes the status quo, is an aberration. It is difficult in a multitudes of ways.
To be fair, I will say, all singles in an Indian society find themselves under microscopic scrutiny all the time, irrespective of gender. The why-nots are more pronounced than whys. And attached with the laundry list, would most definitely come, the reminders of the consequences. But unfortunately for them, the unattached thirty year olds come with their own set of complications.
More often than not, those of us, who chose for things to unfold this particular way, are hardened. I have often heard the term ‘jaded’ associated with us. But I don’t agree. Yes, we are cynical now. We have had our share of heartbreaks, rejections etc which has made us most comfortable in our own space.
But we are not jaded. That space means the world to us. And the thought of sharing it is the scariest thing we can imagine doing. Not that we are scared to dream or that we don’t.
Even the most hardened of us slip sometimes. We fall. We get attached and then we get hurt. This hurt if it is coupled with years of self doubt, can really cause an impact. Personally, it was a really long time before I realized, what was happening to me. My self doubt, the affirmations on that account, had started manifesting grandly in my personal space. I was told this was because I was always too hard on myself. Again, for me, the root cause was me. Because I was hard on myself. It was me. It was always just me.
Sometimes, I wasn’t beautiful enough. Sometimes, I wasn’t friendly enough. Sometimes, I wasn’t traditional enough. I was always too proud, too arrogant, too stuck up, too serious. I was either too much or too little. Till a time, that I realized I wasn’t too of anything anymore. Or too much of anyone anymore. I was just me. Struggling to breathe while being just me.
It was then that I finally decided, to do what made me happy and let go of this constant cycle of proving myself. I started penning down things. For me, it was writing.
For women, the struggle for self worth is monumental. The struggle to prove themselves, to their parents, to their lovers, to their spouses and maybe even to their kids. It is tragic how the culmination of a woman’s worth is often gauged as what kind of a daughter she was, a wife and then a mother. It’s as if we as a single entity should not and ought not to exist.
But I must. I must exist. Howsoever so, that I want to. And I must urge you not to give in to this.
If I have a daughter someday, I would urge her never to explain herself. For every step that she takes, every desire that she has, every decision that she makes. As a daughter or as a son, she/he should always be brave enough to take responsibility, but never rust away in this rut for self worth. Self Love is a process. I don’t claim to have mastered it. Far from even scratching the surface. But at least I have been able to put a finger on it, albeit after a very long time. What has this cost me? Loss of love, most definitely. But then, I have come to believe that, if I manage to affirm positively long enough, there might still be a silver lining for me.
Amen to that.
Image source: a still from the movie Dear Zindagi
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Manojita loves to write alongside her regular 9-5. Flair for language, poetry, art etc
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