‘Thoda Adjust Kar Lo’, A Sneaky Way To Slowly Eradicate Any Independence In A Girl

It's problematic to believe that a woman's inherent job is to provide care. It is this false notion about gender roles that makes women overlook codependency.

I attended a Women’s Day celebration event in my neighborhood. The guest speaker began to explain this year’s theme of #EmbraceEquity. Then she proceeded to ask a thought-provoking question. Why do we celebrate Women’s Day?

A woman from the crowd answered, “To feel important or valued.” The speaker responded, “Do we need to be “valued” through this day?” While nodding my head left to right, saying no, I noticed a few others said yes.

It got me wondering why women feel they should be validated by others.

Why do we look for external validation?

External validation is when other people acknowledge your capacity and feelings. As a woman, you probably have felt the need to be validated at any time. While it is acceptable to a certain level, it might not be so good in the long run if it crosses the limit. Is it okay to give so much power to others over your happiness?

A woman is always made to feel like a side character in a movie in her own life. There is considerable research that shows females tend to have lower self-esteem than males. It links to how negatively society views the stereotypical female role and how much more cultural pressure is placed on women’s physical beauty.

According to the book, “How To Be An Adult In Relationships: The Five Keys To Mindful Loving,” the author refers to the five A’s of emotional support we look for as children.

  1. Attention
  2. Acceptance
  3. Appreciation
  4. Affection
  5. Allowing others to be who they are

If you grew up without any of these, you might compensate by looking for validation.

Our mental health requires appropriate external validation, but how much is too much?

The presence of social media has made it worse by acting as a social-validation feedback loop. A real sense of worth comes from the number of likes, shares, or comments. I remember how I was sad a few years back when I saw a person I follow with a large group of happy friends wishing I had the same. There was a time when I associated the number of likes with my self-worth to the point it became obsessive.

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It’s normal to need validation. It’s also normal to feel valued and respected by others. But, it’s essential to understand that actual validation comes from within. A consequence of seeking validation from others is codependency, which leads to unhealthy relationships.

‘Codependency’ sounds like a serious word. What does it mean?

When one person becomes reliant on another, the relationship is said to be codependent. But it is much more than simple clinginess. A codependent person plans their existence to please the other. A codependent relationship is one in which one partner requires the other, who needs to be needed.

A few symptoms of codependency include the following:

  • a strong desire to control other people
  • an urge to always go above and beyond what is required
  • a tendency to get hurt when others don’t appreciate their work
  • lack of faith in oneself or others
  • fear of being left alone or abandoned
  • having trouble naming feelings
  • trouble adapting to change

Only by giving oneself up for their spouse, who is only too happy to accept their sacrifices, would the codependent feel self-sufficient and worthy of respect. Does this sound familiar?

It’s problematic to believe that a woman’s inherent job is to provide care. It is this false notion about gender roles that makes women overlook codependency. Men and women learn selective skills, and bindings like “culture” and “love” are used to force them into codependence. Are we conditioning a sense of ownership and possessiveness in the pretence of “close-knit” families?

All family members should enjoy autonomy in an emotionally sound household

Toddlers may have survived because of their inclination to make others happy. But an adult may have significant problems. For example, the consequences range from the worry of being “left on read” or, more destructively, a loss of personal identity in a relationship. The ‘obedient daughter’ expectation might be why you fear making errors and struggle with intimacy or dependency on your spouse.

“Women smile to please. Men smile when pleased.”

As per the words of Sima Aunty, “You have to adjust a little, then life becomes beautiful and smooth.” It might be a line you heard numerous times, “Thoda adjust kar lo.” This is a sneaky way to slowly eradicate any indication of a girl’s independence. It encourages them to undervalue themselves and therefore feel ecstatic when others pay attention or compliment them and give away control of their happiness.

Every woman is haunted by the widespread patriarchal mentality

But it’s high time that women understand their true worth. These issues need to be spoken about often, which I still don’t see enough of. There is not much information on these topics in an Indian context. It could be due to social stigma or a shortage of research. Women are in no way inferior to men.

Each woman must recognize and deal with her personal needs for affirmation. The goal is not to shame a woman for feeling what she does. But it’s vital to know that we can feel good about ourselves without the help of others. The journey might not be simple. But it can be achieved by boosting self-esteem, courage, and financial independence. It may also need accepting you might need help. If you are struggling with your mental health, seek a professional. This Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s commit to smashing the stigma.

It makes sense that eighty-one percent of Indian women in this survey by a leading dating app indicated they felt more comfortable living unmarried and alone. Stop giving away your power. Speak up. Be bold. Inspire and uplift others.

Image source: a still from the film Dum Laga Ke Haisha

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About the Author

Mirali Borde

Mirali Borde is an aspiring writer trying to make it in this world. read more...

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