By Juhi Bansal
As women we are programmed to be our own critics. We find faults with almost everything -our bodies, complexion, skin, weight, you name it. We’re conditioned to always yearn for a better version of our own selves- to keep striving towards it. Sometimes it’s good but mostly it gnaws at us slowly but steadily. I used to wallow in self-loathing myself till a while ago. But, I let go of my demons. It wasn’t easy- far from it. I would silently sulk at my muffin top or cellulite or love handles. I would be guilt ridden for days if I binge-ate and then try to undo the damage by starving myself in the name of detox. A million years ago, there was a time when I largely wore a particular style or colour because I thought it suited me. My internet history would reveal “hairstyles for round face”, “how to get rid of double chin” or “sunglasses to suit my face cut”.
But, like I said, that was a million years ago. I got over my insecurities. I don’t do “DOES IT SUIT ME?” anymore. I shop very very sparingly but when I do, I do it for myself. I don’t expect validation and I don’t follow rules. I don’t dress my age or my body type, I am not ashamed of my thunder thighs or unsightly bulges or skin breakouts or round the year tan. I am proud of my body for sticking by me and I love the way it is. I ofcourse know better than to abuse it. I workout, I eat healthy most of the time because I need it to continue working for several more years. I’ve learnt to respect it along with loving it unconditionally with the hope that it will reciprocate the sentiment.
Here are a few things you can do to make that crossover to “zen”:
- Learn to take a compliment. Did you know women are the worst at it? First of all we don’t compliment anyone as much as we should and to top it all when we get complimented on something we almost always credit it to external reasons. You’re doing such a good job of managing the baby and your job! Oh well that’s all thanks to the husband and the maid. Stop it! Just say thanks and feel good about yourself for once.
- Stop feeling guilty about spending time or money on yourself. As mothers and wives our first instinct is that of sacrifice without even realizing that in most cases it is unnecessary and uncalled for. On my way back from Mauritius I was so tired I decided to treat myself to a foot reflexology at the Mumbai airport. I can’t tell you how guilty I felt for spending that measly amount and 30 odd minutes away from the equally tired husband and baby (and I only say measly because if I calculated it is a very insignificant part of my salary, not my husband’s, my own) on myself. I must have battled with my mind for almost 10 mins before I took my credit card out. Why? Why do we have to be the silent martyr?
- Stop taking cr** from people around you. We do that don’t we? People will say anything horrendous and then follow it up with a wink and believe alls well. It’s not. Don’t let anyone say things to you, you do not appreciate. They pretend to be know-it-alls but let’s face it. Your struggles are your own. They have no idea about what you’re dealing with so they don’t get a free pass to comment. It could be about your appearance, choices in life or anything else. Also, do unto others…etc etc.
- Keep your tribe close. Going back to the previous point- how do you stop taking sh** from people? By keeping such unpleasant people at bay. You have such little time to yourself- spend it with people who get you. Who know your struggles and who respect you. Like minded people are such a blessing to mental health and peace, it’s not funny. Also, do remember it’s a constant process. Since you’re evolving in your outlook, if your tribe isn’t- it may be time to recycle it.
- Last but definitely not the least. Love yourself. I know you do but not the way you should. Unconditionally, no holds barred, no strings attached. You are your only companion, your only support and your real soulmate. Learn to love yourself despite your physical shortcomings, see the beauty within you. Next time you look at yourself in the mirror- notice your beautiful eyes before you spot the weariness in them, look at your smile before you spot that double chin and marvel at the strength of your body before you chastise it for the fat deposits. Also, don’t forget to show your love by doing right by it- it will love you right back!
Dress: c/o H&M India (new)
Shoes: Cotton on, Singapore (new)
Sunglasses: AND (3 years old)
Pics: Bhavya Rathore