‘Never Say Yes If You Want To Say No’ Is How My Mother Taught Me Self-Esteem

My mother always told me I should not compromise and do what others want me to, if that is not in my best interests. 6 things she taught me that make me the woman I am today.

They say that cleanliness begins from home. Well, I say that everything- your character, principles, identity and empowerment- begin from home. For a daughter, empowerment begins with her mother, her role model. Here’s how my ‘super’ mom taught me not only to be kind but also to stand up for myself, and not to accept everything thrown at me, just because I’m a woman.

Say openly that you are on your period- it’s not taboo, just biology

Even in this day and age, women hesitate to say this to the men around them, because they have been made to believe that it’s a sin or a taboo to talk about it. Men have been conditioned to cringe whenever they hear it.

This will not change unless we women ourselves start opening up and acknowledging that we need pain relief as well as emotional support during those days of the month. Don’t for any reason shy away from telling your husband/ brother/ son that you are on your period, and would therefore need good rest.

You deserve a good pampering every now and then

So what if you don’t feel like cooking or attending some social event on a particular day because you want some ‘Me’ time? No one blames men when they take off with friends to chill out at parties or meets or conferences for days together. So, pray tell me what’s wrong if a woman simply wants time off for a spa day or to go shopping or merely to just cuddle up with her favourite book or TV show?

You don’t have to feel guilty for putting yourself first just because someone said ‘Women are selfless’. That is such an overrated and much abused word with respect to women, rooted in patriarchy.

Do not say ‘Yes’ when you want to say ‘No’, just because mom did

Mom would often say, ‘Do not be like me, learn to be bold about what you want and what you do not.’

This is because our moms grew up in a period when women were expected to be ‘Yes’ machines by default, right from the kitchen to the bedroom. We need to stand up for ourselves before expecting anyone else to.

If you do not want to give up your career or do not want to have kids immediately after marriage or simply even do not want to cook everyday waking up at 5 am, say ‘No’. There is no need to feel obligated to say ‘Yes’ all the time just because your mom did it.

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Always have your own income and take control of your finances

‘Do not give up your career, no matter what. Take a break when you have to but get back to it,’ was what Mom said when I told her of my plans to start a family.

The importance of having your own income I cannot emphasize enough and it deserves an entire dedicated article. When my mom gave up her career as a doctor to raise us, she had absolutely no regrets. But the day we outgrew her and did not need her around as much, anymore was when her identity crisis started. She was dependant on our father’s income and felt answerable for everything. Today though, at the age of fifty-nine, holding a job she loves, she is a much happier and independent woman, who has also taught us that it is never too late to be your own person. So ladies, your own income not only gives you financial independence but also the confidence to take charge of your own lives.

Wear clothes which are comfortable and also compliment your figure

Growing up, my mother has been my strongest wardrobe critic but always in a kind way and what  I have learnt from her is this- always keep in mind what suits you the best. Not everyone feels comfortable wearing sarees and not everyone looks good in short tops. Choose an outfit which not only makes you look nice but also makes you feel comfortable and less self-conscious. Wearing shorts and crop tops just because ‘All modern women do’ does not have to be the norm.

Never crack jokes about someone’s appearance and physique

The above was mom’s way of telling me that body shaming is a big ‘No’ on all accounts. Absolutely nothing gives anyone the right to demean a person based on how he or she looks. How would you feel if someone did the same to you? Sadly, a lot of body-shaming is inflicted on women by other women. Every woman is beautiful and needs to feel confident about herself. If you cannot say anything nice, at least refrain from saying anything derogatory.

The change starts at home, from us, ladies. Let us support each other and grow as one!

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About the Author

Lavnya Krishnamurthy

Doctor (Ophthalmologist) by profession and a writer by passion read more...

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