Today is the second day of my 20 Day Challenge. The first day of my challenge was pretty good. I read a book, watched the movie Tamasha, played with my son and also told him the story of The Ramayana. Phew!!! Great achievement. I also ate no sugar but couldn’t manage to exercise as I am down with cold and cough.
Today as part of my challenge, I wish to write about self-love. Most of us are so busy loving others that we often forget to love ourselves. Many of us do not even know how to love ourselves. We were never taught to love us.
In our culture we are taught since childhood respect elders, love your neighbour as thyself, care for the poor, love your kids etc. However, are we ever taught to love our self? I do not know about others but I know that nobody ever taught me or told me to love myself and thus I grew up with absolutely no love for myself.
My biggest tutor in life was Bollywood movies and in those movies also I always saw the girls loving others more than herself. We grew up learning that we need to be selfless. Self-love was often equated with being selfish. However, being selfish and having love for self is a completely different thing. Selfish people are those who only care about their needs and demands, they are often narcissist and demanding but self-love is loving yourself for who you are without feeling guilty. To put it simply, loving yourself is when you create positive thoughts about yourself and those positive thoughts are also good for other people, being selfish is when you create negative thoughts, and they are good for yourself and bad for other people. A selfish person will always want others to appreciate them whereas self-love is appreciating yourself irrespective of what others think of you.
When I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis at that time I interacted with naturopath doctor online. After examining me the doctor told me that the root of my disease was in my lack of self-love. At that moment I felt confused. I honestly could not understand what she meant by self-love. Don’t we all love ourselves? However much later I realized that I was too critical of myself. I had a lot of unaddressed issues that had created low self-esteem in me.
My mother was a sweet lady but in her parenting style, she believed that if she praised me too much then I would get spoilt. As a result, she never praised me and always pointed out my flaws. She did this with good intention, however, I grew up believing that I have no good quality and whatever happens is my fault. Many Indian parents of our generation did the same. What we think about ourselves gradually becomes a part of who we are, it becomes our personality. Therefore the naturopath asked me to start unlearning. He asked me to make myself a priority, to start praising myself. In the last few years I have made quite a few changes and today I am more accepting of myself. I feel calmer and more satisfied. I have become more confident ever since I accepted myself for who I am. Today I preach the mantra of self-love to others with the hope that people will benefit from it and our society will become more acceptable.