Dear Indian Women, How To Love Yourself? Start With These 8 Easy Steps

How to love yourself? It may be difficult at times. The noise that surrounds us constantly whispers a million things into our ears, telling us sometimes we’re not enough and other times, that there’s always someone better. Call it plain old human overthinking or just unfounded societal conditioning that leads us to believe such. But self-love, in this world, is a complex subject.

A subject we all deserve to pass, if not score a perfect 100 in. Despite the periodic doubts of wavering confidence, there are always ways to see the best in yourself.

Here are 8 easy steps on how to love yourself:

There are no ‘flawed’ bodies 

Riding on the wave of feminism, came the idea that the best way to hack away at notions of false beauty standards peddled by popular media was to just ’embrace your flaws.’ But there couldn’t have been a belief more inherently wrong than this one. Because there are no ‘flawed’ bodies. What is flawed about stretch marks? Why are body rolls seen as irregular? What is alien about crooked smiles? These aren’t defects that one must overcome. They are there and what make you beautifully you. 

Your gut speaks. Listen 

Every time a tiny voice inside urges you to take the plunge – either on a new job, a trip with friends, or a life milestone – dive with all your heart. Your gut knows you better than anyone else ever can. It is you and has been with you since those early awakenings of conscience, confidence, independence and identity. So, when it tells you that you’re capable and deserve something, it usually means you do. Trust your confidence to speak for you.

It’s human to feel vulnerable 

We’ve all been taught there’s fear and weakness in vulnerability. Where for women it has been a trigger of femininity, for men being vulnerable is associated with emasculation. But does vulnerability really deserve such complexity? Or is it precisely what retains our humanity? There may be insecurity in vulnerability, anxiety about the unknown. But that keeps us going. It is the force that pushes us to try harder, jump higher, learn and grow. A value that is indispensable to us all.

You are complete 

With or without a partner, you are one whole being all in yourself. Companions, families, lovers, friends add colour to our lives. But we’re each enough by ourselves as we are, to live on our own terms without the burden of social expectation weighing us down. Contrary to what Indian women have been preached for so long, marriage and households and conventions don’t make us. If you want to, it can. But that’s exactly the point. It’s the choices we make, the paths we walk, the identities we carve out for ourselves that complete us.

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Take some time off 

In the rut of your mechanical, work-driven life, it’s alright to kick up your heels once in a while and lie back to do nothing at all. So rapid is the pace at which we are powering through that we tend to invest more time in the work and societal expectations that have claimed a stronghold on us. Loosen that grip. Don’t lose sight of the most important thing in life: yourself. If you have to pick up a hobby or even just take some time off, do it. For your body, your mental health and your well-being.

Don’t neglect your mental health 

Good mental health is what keeps us afloat in this messy, overwhelming, demanding world. It matters because you matter. Family and dated convention may dismiss what you feel, your stresses, your disquiet. ‘Just think happy thoughts, just smile.’ But mental health issues are very real and very urgent and most often not solvable with a smile. Seek help if you have to and know you’re not alone. There’s always someone listening.

Your resilience tells a story

When you flip through the pages of your life, you find that every chapter tells the story of resilience. In all those times you took that unsure step, or forgave yourself and others, or waded through every curveball patriarchy threw at you, resilience underscored you. You’re here now, having made it this far. The determination and strength you pack will carry you further forever. No dream is too far and no mountain too high.

Views expressed are the author’s own. 

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