Saw an early morning video the other day from an endearing sleepy-eyed teenage daughter of a friend of mine and have been wanting to write on this since then, as I realized I still identified (albeit being supposedly 30 years the wiser), with her confessions of being temperamental with mood swings and of just how important it was to always have self-esteem amidst everything that happens to you.
On the outside, I am a successful woman, great career at a reputed organization, mother of two amazing kids, loads of friends, many fans at work, at places I speak and now when I write, yet there is that inner turmoil I face time and again in different situations when I ask myself “ Am I good enough?”, “Can I do it?”, “Does my paralysis show?”, “Am I worth it?”, “Am I still fun to be around?”, “Do I look fat?”, the self – doubting questions go on and on…
Don’t know if some of you will identify with me as most people are so stronger in their mindsets these days, but after listening to her innocent talk about why we should not bother about what others say and its Ok to cry if you want to.. I realized…yes… as you grow older … you sort of try to fit in .. you try to hide your feelings… you feel you need to show others that all’s fine… even when it’s not…
Regardless of what the situation is, think the first thing we should do is accept it… we can’t control everything that happens nor is it all your fault. Remember that you are not your circumstances.
Acceptance is the first step to self-realization and self-esteem. If you can accept who you are, what you look like, who you are as a person, your family with all the crazy people in it and believe me I have quite a few, your beliefs and values, the way you speak, act, dress or conduct yourself, then you do not need anyone’s approval or report card. Unless you can accept your inner worth and love your imperfect self, you will never ever be happy.
Not that it is acceptable to be totally narcissistic and be extremely self-centered and arrogant… some self – doubt is good I believe as it leads to self-development.
Second, I think it’s so important for all of us to find out what we really like about ourselves and nurture that .. you may be a caring person, you may be a go-getter and the most resourceful person on the planet, you may be the life of a party, that’s what makes you who you are…The ones who appreciate you for who you are will stick around. The others don’t matter and as my friend’s innocent daughter said, “Why do you bother so much about what others think or say?”… what really matters is how you feel about yourself.
Many parents do not realize that how they treat their children has a big impact on their self-esteem. I was relentlessly compared to my immediate elder sister on how I should study, behave etc… and also when I got married on my own wish, entered a home totally different to mine where I always had to conform and despite giving my all, was scrutinised for every single thing I do… now, after so many years I am coming to terms with myself.
As a parent, I made the same mistakes as my parents did initially but have now come to realize that children need to blossom without much interference and control… of course within the values system you model before them.
And it’s Ok if you want to laze around on a weekend, its Ok if you don’t want to clean or fold laundry for a day or two (had to put that in … a week may be a bit too much 🙂 , it’s Ok if you want to pursue your passions, Its Ok if you want to have the friends you choose, It’s Ok if you want to wear dresses, blow-dry your hair, and for the guys, its Ok to want to still look good, to have a bit of fun, to take your bike out again… you don’t need to live your life on anyone’s terms. You need to know and love yourself for who you are.
It’s so much more important to focus on your growth and happiness rather than getting anyone’s stamp of approval. You will realize how much time has been wasted. Forgive yourself for mistakes you may have made, be kind to yourself and believe you matter, are good enough and deserve happiness.
Third, I think it’s important to embrace what is around you whether it’s stormy dark outside or whether you are witnessing a magical sunset, being in tune with your five senses and what happens around us actually makes us much more appreciative of who and what we can contribute to this universe.
When I take my daily evening walk which I forfeited today because I wanted to write, just taking in all the mundane things around me from the cats near the garbage bins, the hardworking watchman washing all the cars to supplement his meagre income, the carefree kids cycling furiously even dangerously around the car park and the weary parents coming home after a hard day’s work … makes me accept how small I am in the general universe of things.
The same is at work or in your friends’ circles or many WhatsApp groups … everyone is different, everyone has their point of view, you do not need to conform or be accepted by all… what’s important is that you are a part of it and you accept that you and only you have a role to play in this world.
Fourth, don’t think too much… one of my worst habits is my habit of over-thinking and of late I have come to understand that a lot of what I react to is not real but only because I think far too much. Thoughts are nothing but thoughts. What I would advise anyone and this is something I am still working on… is that as soon as you find yourself thinking too much about your worth, Stop … Remember these are just your thoughts, this is not reality.
Last, and I would like to end with this as this is what has really started to erase all my feelings of low self-worth …“Channel your inner rockstar”… believe me nothing makes you feel better… remind yourself of the ways you rock and repeat those positive affirmations to yourself every day. Find that special something within you that really makes you feel good about yourself.
So, what are you waiting for … next time you look in the mirror… look at that rockstar smiling back and go out and rock the world!
Until next time,