Being Women

Break Free from Duality and Find Your Path: An Empowered Choice for Indian Women

Indian women face immense pressure to excel in both career and family life. The writer proposes two solutions: erasing societal conditioning and embracing self-worth.

The Burden Of Choice

Who doesn’t like to have choices?

Ask a child whether he wants to wear a blue or red shirt or whether she wants strawberry or chocolate ice cream and pat comes the reply.

But ask an average Indian woman about choices and many often end up feeling distressed about it.

  • Higher studies or marriage?
  • Career or kids?
  • Parents or parents-in-law?
  • Maika or Sasural?

This struggle is ongoing for many of us; no wonder most of us feel like stretched rubber bands, almost about to snap any moment, thanks to being pulled apart by two extremes in the name of choice.

This conflict, mostly between two equally important options is the point of dissatisfaction and frustration for most women, isn’t it?

How many of us have wished that someone else made these difficult choices for us? Or wished that we didn’t have choices at all? Or asked this question “Why me?”

How many of us have stood at crossroads, looking at two roads ahead, unable to choose one, sometimes for months, years or decades? often wondering why life is so unfair…

Escapism Isn’t the Answer

I have been at such crossroads myself, many times in life, wishing that I could run and hide somewhere far away, where I didn’t have difficult choices to make.

But escapism does not work in reality. It makes decisions harder and navigating those decisions tougher. The million-dollar question here is this- is there an easy way out?

The Million Dollar Question: Having it All?

Instead of one or the other, can I have it all? Yes, many say…. but there is a practical problem here- time.  Demands on our time dictate our choices. But, instead of stretching and wearing ourselves thin between two choices, is there a more sensible way to deal with them?

Over many years, I have found two solutions to this problem. Two very effective ways to find answers easily.

Erasing the Conditioning

The first is deceptively simple and is called ERASE. Just use a mental eraser to erase the conditioning, the guilt, the shame, the societal rules, the expectations, the unreal standards… Most of us have taken mental notes since childhood about what is right and what is wrong; about what is good and what is bad; what is duty and what are obligations and society just underlines and highlights them again and again. Sometimes, it even overwrites those notes, blurring any kind of clarity. This kind of subconscious conditioning is so strong that even those of us with a clear perspective lose it sometimes. As we grow older, this can unknowingly complicate our choices too.

That is why we all need a mental eraser of some sort; because, if we have to write our own story, we first need a blank slate…

So the next time someone lays down the rules of being a good mother, or a dutiful daughter-in-law or reprimands one for not parenting “properly”, keep what you feel is right and erase the rest. A clean slate mind is the best asset to empower a person to make the right choice. If destination A is career and destination B is family, then do yourself a favour and please don’t carry any map. Instead, walk freely, explore those paths, and be open to possibilities and difficulties that lie ahead. Do not think about obligations and duty. Instead, think about who needs you at that particular point in time and what will bring you peace and happiness. If the choice is about being a strict parent or a lenient parent, ditch that rulebook that dictates how mothers should act and instead rely on your gut feeling; because who knows your child better than you? The cleaner your slate is, the easier it becomes to make tough decisions.

The Power Of Saying “I Am Enough”

The second solution that I have personally found very helpful is to learn to say “I AM ENOUGH”, especially emotionally. As women, most of us are subconsciously programmed to seek external validation, whether it is a nod of agreement, an acknowledgement of our efforts, worthy words of praise or sometimes just validation of our emotions. But truth be told, many women don’t get even these in our country, even when they more than deserve it. So we should make an effort to seek it when it doesn’t come our way, but I feel it would be even better if learned to live and thrive without any validation at all.

Choosing Your Path with Confidence

You don’t need to hear from others that you are a good DIL or daughter or a wife or mother if you genuinely feel and believe that you are very good in all the roles you play. You don’t need your boss to validate that you are a good employee if you feel so from within you. You will not feel lonely and lost if you truly begin to enjoy your own company. You will not feel the need to hear words of praise from anyone if you pat your own back. You don’t seek love and care desperately from anyone if you learn to love yourself and take care of your needs physically, mentally and emotionally. You learn not to depend on others for your happiness if you start finding it within you…

Saying “I am enough” when it matters, can be extremely empowering and liberating. Because it gives a sense of completeness, a sense of being in control, a feeling of taking the power into your own hands… Saying “I am enough” puts one in the driver’s seat, than being a mere passenger in life. This makes many decisions and choices, a little less complicated and a little more gratifying.

So ladies, next time you find yourself at a difficult junction, with a seemingly impossible choice between two things, both of which matter to you, clean your slate and learn to say “I am enough”. You might discover that you will travel light and enjoy the journey, no matter what road you choose…

Happy living!!

(This was an entry to the contest ‘Two’ commemorating the second anniversary of The She Saga)

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