Seek To Be A Whole Woman, Not The Perfect Wife Or Daughter

Posted: June 6, 2019

The Indian woman is always taught that all the roles she plays will make her whole, but what about her self? Why is encouraged to forget her own needs?

“The whole is greater than sum of its parts.” This aphorism coined by Aristotle, applies to many everyday situations.

Not so long ago, when I was undergoing a separation in my marriage, little did I know that I was headed towards finding something I had been missing for years. It was nothing but my own self!

Coming from a middle class family where we were told to educate ourselves, get married, have kids, I had thought that it would make me complete, make me WHOLE! What I was not taught is how to love myself.

My life was not very different from that of a typical Indian female. Yes, and that life is a sum of different parts. Didn’t understand? Let me explain. Our lives are made up of the various parts that we play at different stages of life. We play the role of a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother, and so on….. These are different roles that I have also been playing, thinking that all these added up together will make me whole.

I am sure that many of you reading this today must be nodding your heads in agreement with me. Don’t worry. I have also believed this shit for years. But not any more!

Let me tell you something. As much as I regard the institution of marriage and have total respect for all the roles that a woman plays in her entire life, one thing that I am sure of is: Ladies, this doesn’t make you whole! The most important part that you have all been missing is “loving yourself”.

This is a role that I learned through hard experience and I am sure many of you are still missing out on it as well. Just like many of you, I have always wanted to be a role model for being a good wife. I did everything to please my ex so that I don’t fail at that role and kept doing many things, which in my heart I knew were just not right.

I was playing a role of perfect wife, at least in my head! I was aspiring to finish the last line. In my opinion, at that time, I used to think that this what we need to make us “whole” – a successful husband, behind whom I am standing to cheer him on, a successful kid who would receive degrees from Harvard/Stanford University and so on.

I was treading this path until it became intolerable. My soul was dying every single day and it felt as if I was breathing but not alive! What was wrong? I could not understand it. I was looking for answers and boom! It was in front of me and I never saw that. I was watering others around me but they were draining me. I was filling their cups but my cup was getting empty!

So when you are playing any role in your life, how many of you put your SELF first in the whole situation and then decide what should be done? I know, as a sacrificing Indian woman, you are used to giving up on what YOU want and do what you think is best for your family. But let me tell you…. loving yourself, putting your desires first, voicing your opinions and asking to be an equal partner does not make you selfish. It merely makes you whole!

TEAM is nothing but the understanding that Together Everyone Achieves More! So when we are playing any role, what we need to emphasize is that this team takes into consideration what your feelings are too! This team needs to learn to give up sometimes for your wants as well. This team should also allow your part to be summed in the whole.

My marriage didn’t work but this journey made me think about what I had lost or gained. To be honest, I gained more. I know one thing for sure now that “I” am important too. It made me learn how to love myself. It allowed me to understand that I need to put on my oxygen mask first (as the flight attendant tells you when you travel on a flight) before I could help others. I learned that unless my own cup is full, I couldn’t fill anyone else’s cup.

I am experiencing ‘Pronoia’ (a word coined to express the opposite of Paranoia) and not being ‘Paranoid’.  I know that I am not just a ‘total’ sum of my roles. Because now I know how to love myself. Anything I do now is not incomplete. I am ‘more’ than the sum of my parts because I know what I deserve and I know my worth. I am complete. I am whole.

Image via Unsplash

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I am an IAS officer from UP cadre, having extreme passion for improving women's

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2 Comments


  1. Hey kajal..Loved your article.How fast do we forget ourselves with that instant when we are worn a mangalsutra. why do we so?May be the look in all those eyes around us which compel us to believe that you ought not to be what you were. And then one day by chance unknown we encounter epiphany when we look ourselves in that mirror and then long for all those years we were not we,we were them.

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