Being Women

Lesson On Self-Love: 5 Self-Care Tips To Embrace Yourself

Society pressures women to prioritize appearances for external validation. This can lead to neglect in later years. Self-care and prioritizing one's own happiness and well-being, celebrating oneself through self-love and prioritizing mental and emotional health are important.

From “What Will People Think” to “Who Cares Now”

Ironically, women don’t see the neglect. We don’t see the trajectory trail from the ubiquitous “log kya kahenge” to the deprecating “abhi hamein kaun dekhta hai.”

Why ?? Probably because we started doing it for the wrong reasons. So, was that glowing skin, perfectly accessorised tip-top look, social grooming because of peer pressure or social scrutiny? Did we invest precious time and effort just to keep up with the ‘galli ki Deepikas and Priyankas’?

A Sign of Resignation?

Is it why, by the time you slip into your 50s, everything is almost done and dusted, and we prefer to walk around in flip-flops, frayed housecoats, and hair twisted into a stupid clutcher all through, uncaring about our looks or diet as we munch into anything from chai-toast to yesterday’s roti with the day before yesterday’s sambar because we couldn’t care more, which in some ways is telling of our drab existence, often uncared, unasked, and unacceptable in relationships in homes and with the world, as we say, “abhi kaun dekhta hai hamein.” So, what exactly changed? 

What happened to the princess who wanted to be the queen, strong, and always in command of her life? Why and how did she abandon her story?

A Life of “Do’s and Don’ts”

Women grew up with a red diary of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ trying to get their act right—no crossing legs at 45 degrees, talking in a low, hushed tone, ‘no argue’ rule with elders in families, bosses, and men in general. Women don’t have the luxury to relieve a twitchy nose, or ear, forget the burp and fart, so the clenched smile could mean just that, but somewhere down the line we got weary of getting our act right and ended up angry, seething, and battling emotions doing the cat on the hot tin roof act. 

A Lesson in Self-Care

Until I met a grandma of 80 who taught me a very valuable lesson that I wasn’t willing to learn in the beginning. But I must admit that I admired her poise and zest for life, the energy she mustered to drape her pretty cotton saris, though expensive, and her little hair tucked into a neat little bun adorned with flowers. She rarely ever missed her evening walks at the park to meet friends (her me-time), yoga at home, a balanced diet and rest, and regular health checkups. Uff, it was a bit disconcerting for the rest of us shuffling in our fifties, looking listless, and battling family and the workplace to watch her look cheerful, putting her issues behind.

I once asked her about the effort to look nice when she could give the whole thing a miss considering the effort that went into her self-starched cotton saris, matching potli bags, bangles, and bindi given her age, to which she had a fine answer. 

It’s Not About Them, It’s About You

“Celebrate your life every day, because not everyone in the universe is blessed with the things you’ve got. Stop waiting for that special day to dress up; your flowers are for yourself, not merely for others to see. It’s a celebration of you. Stop explaining and seeking validation from people and society, for you owe them nothing.”

Celebrating Yourself

“It’s not about others to see, but loving yourself. Love yourself as much as you do your own families. Care for your needs just as you care for theirs. Nurture your soul as you feed your family, because love begins with you.”

Prioritizing Yourself

“It’s about prioritising yourself. Often, it’s our inability to make time and space for ourselves that makes us unhappy and weary of people around us. As women, we have been putting our own families and relationships over our own emotional and mental health for too long, which is dangerous for our well-being.”

We expect the same in return for all that we do selflessly for those we love and care about. Over time, we turned inward and learned to practice self-love. Happiness manifests with the self”.

Self-Indulgence: It’s Self-Love

“I don’t think it’s difficult to wear a fine dress, put your hair in place, and invest in good footwear without thinking them to be indulgences,”  she said. “You don’t need to wait for that special day or a man to get that lovely dress or sari out of the wardrobe; you don’t need an occasion to accessorise or buy flowers for your hair. No, don’t make the mistake of doing it for others for appreciation, admiration, or compliments from people outside. Do it for the woman in you. Show her some love.”.

And I’ve learned to do just that…

Bharati Muralidhar

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