How often are we told by people to indulge in self-love? How often do we hear, “love yourself,” “know your value,” and “you deserve the best”? But is it that simple? Can we fall in love with ourselves, with just a little push and motivation?
Maybe we can but I couldn’t. It took me a little more than just motivation. For me, it was acceptance.
Until the very last year of my existence, I always perceived life as a ‘fairyland’ experience. I knew someday I would have to give myself a reality check, someday I will have to shake hands with real-life problems and only with the thought of all of this happening, I could see being tempted by the emotions of life. Recently, my fairyland was falling apart, and I was being driven by confusion and anxiety. I had this sudden urge of knowing all the answers, “what am I doing with my life?”; “when am I going start earning?”; “Am I the only one not moving forward?” All of these un-ignorable, futile, purposeless questions were making me paranoid, and I was turning into a lifeless, irritating monster.
It started affecting me emotionally, physically and mentally and I became a developed a hormonal imbalance and severe self-doubt. This led me to put on weight. And for a girl who has always been slim and in the “no matter how much you eat, you will never gain weight,” category, this sudden change hurt my confidence. I convinced myself that it was going to be alright. That is, until I realized that it was noticeable to people (relatives and friends). Not only it was noticeable, but it also seemed like a major cause of worry to them.
It was a regular evening, and I had a family get together that I was looking forward to. The evening was how I imagined it to be and everything was going smooth until one of my cousins started taunting me that I was becoming fat. Later, as more relatives joined the party, I was very excited to meet one of my cousins but much to dismay, she saw me and shouted, “Have you gained weight? You have, right?” I didn’t know if she was being sarcastic but right after her, comment my aunt and uncle joined in with her. Those words and the expressions on their faces pinched me. After an evening full of commentaries, I was heading back home along with my folks, and as soon as we go in the car my mom could sense the waterworks coming.
In the car, my dad said something to me, and I chose to remain silent because I knew, that if I say something now, I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from crying. However, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t control my emotions, and the tears were just flowing out of my eyes. My mom was already anticipating this but my dad, he couldn’t bear his little princess crying over something so dainty and stupid. After a ride full of drama, we reached home, and I did my regular night chores and FaceTimed my brother (who is in abroad). I told him exactly what happened (word for word) and he ended up the conversation, saying, “I don’t know about you but I would never give someone so much importance in my life,” and our conversation left me feeling, “Do I care too much about the conventional stereotypes?”
The next morning, around 6:30 am, my dad entered my room and lied down right beside me and rested his arms on my shoulder, saying, “I didn’t feel good, seeing you cry last night. Since when did you start worrying about people? Should we care about people and what they say? If we start doing that, how are we ever going to live? We will spend our entire life satisfying others rather than ourselves. Do you want this?” At that moment, I felt emotional but also content. I turned towards him and smiled, and he asked me, “Let’s go for a walk?” and I got up from my bed and prepped up for my walk. I suddenly felt rejuvenated and loved. A feeling of relief and gratification; I was having precisely that sort of sense.
I realized that all those beliefs about self-love are true but what we need is acceptance. Acceptance of ourselves. When we truly are in alignment with who we are, then we can ponder over our ups and downs and be a better version of ourselves and then we truly achieve the pleasure of self-love.
I still have a lot of questions unanswered, but I realised this confusion should not stop me from moving forward. I should keep moving and eventually, I will know all the answers. I mean, what’s the rush, right?
I realised that it is important to give time to each and every emotion. It’s important to love ourselves, but it is also important to accept our flaws and to contemplate.
I don’t know how helpful this little extract of my life would be, but I do know now that having a little sense of uncertainty and being forced to check my negative thinking is what I needed to keep moving forward.
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