But how do we go about accepting ourselves just the way we are?

Sharing an email and my random thoughts on the questions asked.

I think loving ourselves would include accepting ourselves just the way we are.
But how do we go about accepting ourselves just the way we are?

Maybe by acknowledging that there is no ‘Perfect’ and we are not (and need not be) in any competition to be the best at being the most loved, liked, needed, wanted or respected person around.

Unfortunately, traditional wisdom seems to stress on winning hearts and approval of random people (more so for women, youth and children).

Traditional wisdom also discourages seeking personal happiness. So maybe those who do not aim for personal happiness would benefit from striving to earn, learn, score, clean, cook, look, do, give – better than others they know are doing.

Peace of mind is difficult to achieve (maybe impossible) when we are striving to win approval. We are put at the mercy of prejudices, beliefs, rationale and maybe manipulations of random people. Also leaves too much scope for emotional blackmail.

But for those who seek happiness – or atleast peace of mind, it helps, I think, to stop trying to win approval (or earn respect).

I feel nobody should do anything to ‘earn respect’ or to ‘win hearts’ – unless one is convinced that the thing is the right thing to do. Respect for self is worth earning, but again it might help to accept that it’s okay to learn, grow, evolve and move on, while respecting our own limitations.

Acceptance is liberating, I think, (including self acceptance) because acceptance means letting someone be themselves (be the way they are) instead of assuming we always know better and are qualified to tell them how they should be and what is best for them. Also assuming it is possible for everybody to change.

I think it’s difficult to be at peace with ourselves, if we believe that we need to be a certain way, or we need to ‘improve ourselves’. Because that implies we shouldn’t be the way we are, or there is something wrong is with the way we are.

And how does it help to believe that we must see it as our duty to trust those who know better (including future-ladke-wale, family elders, parents, sometimes male family members, many others.) and are willing to help us come up to their expectations?

What do you think of – Healthy Criticism? Who should be encouraged to help us ‘improve ourselves’? How would you differentiate emotional abuse from unasked for advice, comments and criticism?

Many believe criticism is necessary for self-improvement. But who should decide what needs to be improved? What kind of unsought criticism/commenting do you think is healthy?

And now, the email.

* * *

Hello IHM,

I writing again following my request to you (and your blog readers) for help in January earlier this year (from UK) regarding my parents forcing me to go down arrange marriage route.

[This post: “I am betraying my parents, country and culture by not having an arranged marriage, people are talking, younger sisters not getting married.”]

At that time I received lots of encouraging and helpful replies and suggestions from the readers. Some of the readers of your blog ( and other people in my life) have suggested, “learn to be happy by yourself, learn to love yourself, learn to be at peace with yourself  etc” not just to me but to others who have posted pleas for help on your blog as well. 

I wanted to ask you and the  readers how do they recognise that they have achieved these things? What are the mental and physical signs? What techniques can you use to get there?

It might sound like a trivial question but it would be very useful for me and potentially for others who are looking to move on from traumatic experiences.

Many thanks ( and thank you for being there)

Related Posts:

Does loving someone mean we should ‘improve’ them?

“I think most problems in life are when we look for approval and validation outside of ourselves.”

“10 years ago, the girl would have been counselled on how to change her dress sense for the boy, how to do as he says.”

Who would you never ask for advice?

What are you criticised the most for?

44 thoughts on “But how do we go about accepting ourselves just the way we are?

  1. To change anything, first we need to know what is right and what is not. Eg. If someone stammers during certain situation, he or she first has to realise that it is a problem. Thereafter strive to improve upon it – which is a two way process. viz One – it has to come from within and Two – one needs help of an expert.
    Similarly, if someone looses temper more often than the others, first the person has to recognise this fact and then try to work on it. Again, working on it comes from within and from external expert help.
    Unfortunately, not everyone is an expert though they do give advice freely🙂
    Coming to the subject now – we can only accept ourselves the way we are is by believing in ourselves and the fact that what we are doesnt need to be changed. If this is difficult, thereafter seek expert help.
    This is simply because our personalitis are a subset of so many things – habits formed since childhood, genetic compositions, education levels, spiritual inclinations, etc etc and only an expert can analyse the factors and suggest solutions.

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  2. Coming from a family where my mom is the dominant one and one who keeps tabs on everyone and everyone’s actions all the time, i learnt to think outside of the image and the opinions that I thought made me up. This learning rather the unlearning process was slow – took a few years for me to break the shell, of course the influence is still there, but not do much as few yrs back!

    Thus scenario may not be relevant here, but self introspection and understanding whether you are doing something for the sake of others and if so, is it really necessary from your part is important and going against all those is this key! In the end you may not recognise you, but that change will keep you in peace and will be welcome!

    Parents will get around to this one day, but make sure you don’t give up or compromise for their sake along the way!
    Good luck.

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  3. To answer LW’s question:
    I think it is a very slow process. To speak from experience I was like Rani in the movie “Queen” in that if there was anyone I was expected to “obey”, I obeyed them. I sacrificed my time and devoted my energies in being the selfless daughter, granddaughter and so on. Every time I did go out of the way and put others happiness above mine, I realized it has not made me happy like it was meant to, but I did not know any better on what would make me happy, so I just followed it anyway.

    I think the first step is to accept that your happiness is important and that it does not have to come from obeying parents or going by what you are conditioned to believe as the path set for you. Then you automatically seek to understand what it is that makes you happy. That there are things you did not do just because you were not expected to.

    For me in the beginning it was just not doing things the expected way and trying out anything that fancied me. When I wanted to take a solo trip, I went to Shimla because Geet went there in the movie “Jab We Met”. Random things like that. Finding what makes me happy required a lot of trial and error because there is no guidebook for that. Then I found people who could be role models for me. I started reading lot of blogs, by women and men who traveled, biked to Ladakh, wrote about cooking, wrote about finance, wrote about copy editing, any thing that I thought I would like to try myself or interested me. I figured out I like cooking (when I did not have the pressure of putting a meal on the table everyday at the designated time). I like badminton. I still have a whole list of things I have not tried but would like to try. And when I divorced, I looked for validation of my thought processes on the internet and reading about a lot of women, their situation, useful comments on this blog helped me figure out what works for me and relieved my anxiety like nothing else before. I have begun to trust my feelings and instincts more than what-I-was-conditioned-to-believe-as-right.

    Now my test for something to make me happy is, “Do a) what I feel about it and b) what I think/believe about it are in harmony?”. If yes, go for it. If no, understand whats causing the different feeling or thinking? Is it my lack of understanding? Find resources that help me determine what would work for me until my feelings and thoughts align to get to a decision.
    I still have situations where I am in dilemma if to obey and seek approval of the society or do what my gut tells me to do, but the above test has always worked for me.

    To answer IHM’s questions:
    Q. What do you think of – Healthy Criticism?

    For me any criticism, healthy or otherwise, is a trigger for thinking. Does it ring any bells, do I have a thought of my own, will it work for me?

    Q. Who should be encouraged to help us ‘improve ourselves’? How would you differentiate emotional abuse from unasked for advice, comments and criticism? Many believe criticism is necessary for self-improvement. But who should decide what needs to be improved? What kind of unsought criticism/commenting do you think is healthy?

    Nobody in general. For specifics, it would depend on my need and their suitability to help me improve, do I look up to the person for that particular skill/wisdom, is that something I want to ‘improve myself’ in?

    Sorry for the long comment, my first time commenting here, though I am regular reader of the blog and comments.

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    • “For me in the beginning it was just not doing things the expected way and trying out anything that fancied me. When I wanted to take a solo trip, I went to Shimla because Geet went there in the movie “Jab We Met”. Random things like that.”
      I chuckled when I read that. You describe the trial and error learning process well.
      “I like badminton. I still have a whole list of things I have not tried but would like to try. And when I divorced, I looked for validation of my thought processes on the internet and reading about a lot of women, their situation, useful comments on this blog helped me figure out what works for me and relieved my anxiety like nothing else before. I have begun to trust my feelings and instincts more than what-I-was-conditioned-to-believe-as-right.”
      The above is a beautiful growth process. Proud of you!

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      • I fell in love with the movie, highly influenced especially by Geet’s idea of not blaming anyone else for happenings in her life.

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  4. I can identify with this post on many levels.

    I think that as IHM says here, our conditioning as Indian women dictates that we always look to be accepted in light of norms and societal boundaries. Slowly, this conditioning pervades our own thinking and we feel obliged to be better wives, better mothers, better cooks, better hostesses…even if we are already excellent multi-taskers who juggle all these roles at once.

    I understand these questions and have lived them (perhaps I’m still living them), as I have recently separated from my husband. Not because he abused me or neglected me or was a bad person but simply because we have different goals. I had to accept that my happiness came first in spite of everyone telling me to compromise on my dreams because I’m the woman.

    In light of this, I would say that the best and healthiest criticism I’ve received is from people who have a holistic view of me as an individual who has the right to be perceived as separate from the societal mass of ritualistic crap that we have been taught to swallow for centuries. This doesn’t mean that they have to agree with my decision, but healthy criticism allows for my growth first, and it puts things in perspective so that I am able to make a choice without emotional blackmail and how-it-will-help-my-mother-father-sister-brother.

    I wouldn’t want to advise the sender of the email, but I know this from experience- when you’re at peace with your decisions, you’ll know it. There is no guideline to finding this peace. It comes with making a decision that makes you happy inside. There may still be bad days, but the lightness of being that comes with knowing you’ve done something good for yourself is a beautiful thing.

    I wish you every happiness.

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    • IHM and Bones
      I am really curious to know how you were able to embed an image inside the comment box.
      Can you tell us?
      Regards
      GV

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      • In this particular case, I think it’s an embedded tweet.

        To embed a tweet, click on the link above, which will navigate you to the tweet on twitter. There, click on “more”. Then click on embed tweet. Here, copy paste the little HTML. I think that will do the trick. Here. Let me give it a shot:

        A wider shot. Women protest against forced wearing of the hijab, Iran, March 1979 pic.twitter.com/nRYIws8iRT— Feminist Pics (@FeministPics) April 15, 2014

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      • Bones/Ihm,
        I was hoping for an answer to my question.
        Never mind.

        IHM,
        I seek your kind indulgence.
        I am seeing if I can embed this same image just below this comment.
        If I am successful, you should see the image.
        Or else, you may see some html code that did not work.
        If this clicks I could illustrate my comments with illustrations and drawings whenever that helps.
        A picture is often worth a thousand words.

        Regards
        GV

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        • No Sundar,
          My trick did not work.
          I had hoped the picture would appear, failing which at least the html code would appear. But neither did.
          In your case at least the link appears even though the picture does not appear.
          I hope “Bones” see this and responds.I really wonder how it was done.
          Regards
          GV

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  5. What to change – the things that destroy your happiness. You know what they are from life experience.

    What not to change / accept – the things which make you unhappy but cannot be changed. These you can only accept & come to terms with & see if there is something you gain /some meaning you can find.

    Technique – book after book has been written🙂 I would say a mix of spiritual & practical action. Or to put it differently, changing your thoughts as well as acting.

    “How do you recognize you have achieved these things?” Rootedness. You are happy in yourself & you lean on yourself, even if others disapprove or you face problems. Plus, you notice the little things like the beauty of a sunrise or the way your garden looks, consistently. As well as love. You’re able to love things without possessing them.

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    • I realize that you may have only wanted to hear from women… if so, ignore my comment🙂 Your questions seemed quite universal though. Men face them too, in different contexts.

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      • Thanks for your comment abvblogger🙂 Loved these lines: //Plus, you notice the little things like the beauty of a sunrise or the way your garden looks, consistently. As well as love. You’re able to love things without possessing them.//

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        • Glad you liked it🙂 I was just thinking that two more values could interest LW. The first is alignment. What we expect from others should align with what they expect of us. So a lot of young people who depend on family money are dismayed when the family expectations are conservative. It’s generally best to be aware that the individual rights model requires independence & self-reliance, not to mention willingness to accept responsibility.

          Second, perspective. This individual model is very young. Most of our existence as a species, 99% of it, has been community based living with strong social roles & mutual expectations that everybody conformed to. It’s important to keep this in mind, so that one doesn’t go around thinking that people are evil or wrong if they don’t subscribe to individual freedom. They’re just doing replaying a pattern of social & cultural interaction that has been around for a long time. While I’m a fan of individual freedom, I see it as a luxury we earn and carve out for ourselves, not as something one sits back and enjoys as a given. I don’t think individual freedom is fully compatible with the reality of human nature; it takes a lot of civilization to stamp out the coercion and patterns of tight social coordination / conformity that lie dormant, always waiting for the right conditions to come out.

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      • I like your thoughts on individual freedom being a luxury, something we earn during the course of our lives. I think the unfortunate part is that a lot of people aren’t able to see it that way. Even if they do, their constraints (those created by society or other individuals) often make them act small, and this is when they impose their misplaced sense of righteousness and advice upon other people who are brave enough to try break free of these constraints.

        And I second IHM when she says she loved the lines she quoted below. Every morning I wake up with the same feeling since I broke away to find my own individual freedom. I wake feeling lighter, stronger, and more receptive to the sheer wonder and grace that peek at me from dusty corners of the everyday.

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  6. //I wanted to ask you and the readers how do they recognise that they have achieved these things? What are the mental and physical signs? What techniques can you use to get there?//

    For me, loving myself has meant two things. One, I am confident about expressing my needs – to myself, or in a relationship, to another. Importantly, this declaration has no value, no judgement. For e.g., I am feeling needy. I want some one-to-one time. I declare it. I don’t weigh it, as in, am I right in asking for it? Is it fair?. OR I am jealous that someone has achieved something I desire. I accept this feeling of jealously. I don’t judge it as a negative emotion. I accept that I am greedy! Second, having recognized the need, I ask myself what can I do about it. For the needy situation, am I making myself available to the other person? Am I being absolutely honest with them or am I expecting that they should “understand” in a sublime way? For the greedy situation, I reflect on where I am, and ask – do I really want that achievement, or am I just wanting it because it seems nice. If I really want it, what can I do about it? Change my mindset, or my lifestyle? What choices will help me make that achievement?

    As I write this I realize, I don’t ever go back into the past and rue my decisions. When I reflect, I don’t dwell too much about the wrong decisions, I focus more on what I can for the future. And this is an every day, every moment consciousness. There are some events which just make you so angry or annoyed that rationality is far far away. So the “loving-myself” strategy only kicks in after much loss of self-control. Thus, this attitude is a work in progress, always.

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  7. “Many believe criticism is necessary for self-improvement. But who should decide what needs to be improved? What kind of unsought criticism/commenting do you think is healthy?”

    I wish I had the answer IHM… At 43 I am still struggling to accept myself, the inner critic being very strong. And still I am very clumsy to show the way to my kids. Even to my eldest daughter who quit school at 17 and couldn’t find a job for 3 years. And I feel very confused as I see my parents ageing and getting more dependent and demanding. Having a baby as 2 elders died doesn’t help either. In the end, I think nothing works. So you just have to pause, breathe, meditate. And act according to love. You will never regret what you do for love. A joyous love rather than a dutiful love🙂

    With hugs.

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  8. Dear LW, I’ve been an overachiever all my life. I did well in academics, sports, debate, etc. I did it for myself. I enjoyed these activities. I’ve often prided myself on being my own harshest judge. Other people’s opinions never bothered me. But I think I was being too hard on myself sometimes. As I got older, I realized that being a perfectionist is nothing to be proud of or ashamed of. It’s just who I am. And it can be both a strength and sometimes it can create problems. And it did. So I started learning to be more accepting of myself. I allowed myself to cry sometimes. I didn’t have to be strong all the time. I started iterating my needs better to other people. I learned to ask for help. But I also understand that I enjoy being intense. I love putting in long work hours. I love spending time and effort creating something perfect (or almost perfect). I love working hard on the things I love (it’s not work, it’s a labor of love), but I also need to be aware of where to draw the line and not wear myself out.

    My son, on the other hand, is a totally laid back person. While I’m a ‘work first, then play’ (or rather work IS play) person, he is more relaxed and is yet to learn the value of hard work. I’ve always tried to accept him for who he is. While I talk to him sometimes about the value of hard work, I will not try to turn him into me. I love his personality, his sense of humor, and how comfortable he is with himself, how accepting he is of himself when he falters.

    So, I suppose, each one of us is different, and we must do what makes us happy. There are no set rules on what we should aim for. The most important thing is to respect yourself and love yourself. To respect yourself, you must make some goals (that are meaningful to YOU, and not arbitrarily set by society or family or neighbors) and put in the work needed to achieve them. To love yourself, you must allow yourself to falter. It doesn’t make you weak, it just makes you human. The latter, I think is very hard for many people.

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  9. I strongly advise reading ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. If you implement (and implementation is the key) even a fraction of what is given in the book, it will help. I really like this book because when I was confused and did not know where to begin looking for answers, it gave me clear direction and concrete steps. I am at a very happy place in my life today, pretty content and clear on what I am, and this book was key to helping me put things in the right perspective. Everyone is different, has different goals in life, and moves at a different pace, but in the end, the basics always remain the same.

    Disclaimer: This is not a commercial plug for the book and I am not connected to it in any way, except as a person who has experienced first-hand its effectiveness.

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    • Absolutely agree. Until I read this book, I was carrying many different concepts in my head from many different books and trying to apply them to different aspects of my life. This book encompasses everything – it brought together all those pieces for me and tied them into pattern, so I could see they were not different things, just parts of a whole. Also, it talks about fundamental changes, intrinsic changes like the character ethic, etc. and not just superficial changes like improving your communication.

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  10. My concrete signs that all is good in my life. Hope this triggers ideas for others:

    1. l sleep peacefully and wake up without an alarm
    2. My mind is in one place. l am not constantly thinking about something else
    3. My hormones, moods, skin, haemoglobin levels, etc. are all in perfect balance
    4. Junk food, chocolate, coffee etc. reduce. l drink one cup of high quality coffee a week than a cup from the vending machine twice a day to Keep going.
    5. No road rage🙂 l have observed that l feel more stressed while driving when l feel less in control Of my life. The traffic is an outlet for all my little frustrations
    6. No mommy guilt for “leaving my Son at home and going to work”

    Nothing meta here on purpose. l think we are conditioned to not observe ourselves on a tangible level. the moment l observe my mood, posture, appetite and fitness levels, everything happily falls in place. Basically the yoga philosophy of controlling the intangible through the tangible.🙂

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  11. In order to accept who you are , I think you need to get to know who you are first.
    To me the following things would help …

    1. Introspection : Just like how when we meet someone new we talk to them, listen to them, ask questions in order to get to know them, we also need to do these things to get to know ourselves. Think about the things that made you happy/sad/angry/joyful/blissful/emotional, why they made you feel that way.

    2. Question everything and let go of labels : Don’t assume anything about yourself, even if you have thought it true for years. Growing up I always pictured myself as being.. ‘ super woman who manages home and career’ , ‘not very ambitious , probably take up a some easy not-stressful job’, ‘hates history and math’ , ‘thrill seeker –love adventure sports’
    After being an unhappy adult for a while, I realized and slowly questioning everything I had assumed to be true for years. I am now very happily ‘ordinary woman who shares home and chores with husband’, , ‘extremely ambitious, loves my work, and give everything I am to it’ , ‘Love history, still hates math’ , ‘prefer visiting historical sites instead of jumping off a plane’

    3. Be Selfish : This I think works best , if you are independent, and not in a relationship. I say this because you need to focus and do all the things that make you happy, that you think would make you happy, try completely new things and not be bogged down by expectations or obligations from anyone.

    Once you know who you are … accepting yourself may be a little easier.

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  12. @the LW–I think the best way I’ve become ‘at peace’ with myself is accepting myself for who I am and not the person I thought I should be. Growing up, I’d always been very academically focused on achieving as much as I could–it was the summer after writing my MCATs and scoring decently enough, I realized that that’s not the life I wanted for myself.

    I was in quite a fix after that. I had only prepared for med school, but I almost panicked into writing the LSAT almost immediately after because hey, if you can’t be a doctor then might as well be a lawyer instead of heading to loserville masters in psych.

    I did none of those things and moved to a foreign country with my fiance (now husband) and got married. I never, EVER, in a million years thought I would become ‘one of those’ women. In the last two years, I’ve had a complete rehaul in a lot of my belief systems. I can say now that I’m very happy where I am. For me, it had to do with accepting the fact that I’m not suited to be a career focused person. I’m more of a do one project at a time kind of person and it’s okay to be that way.

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  13. Also, nice write up by IHM on acceptance and self-respect. Answering IHM’s questions –

    What do you think of – Healthy Criticism? Who should be encouraged to help us ‘improve ourselves’?
    A friend who’s opinions you value, who’s judgement you trust, who doesn’t generally interfere but may feel concerned and step in only when there is a need to be concerned.

    How would you differentiate emotional abuse from unasked for advice, comments and criticism?
    Unsolicited advice is very common in our culture. People want to tell you what dress looks nice on you, what you should eat to lose weight, or what career path you should choose to be really happy. It’s best to ignore this type of advice or politely tell them that ‘I know what I want, thank you very much’ . It’s annoying but harmless when it goes away upon ignoring/polite rebuke. If it is persistent and starts getting more and more personal and insulting, it is now sliding into emotional abuse. If ‘conditions’ and ‘threats’ are getting imposed (I can’t live with you if you do dress/eat/talk in a certain way.) then it’s most certainly emotional abuse.

    Many believe criticism is necessary for self-improvement. But who should decide what needs to be improved?
    If the choices we make don’t impact others, then it’s nobody’s business. If our choices start interfering with other people’s rights, then the impacted person can suggest improvements. If I decide to stay up and play the stereo all night, my husband can object, or suggest alternatives. My m-i-l on the other hand, should stay out of it, because this doesn’t impact her.

    What kind of unsought criticism/commenting do you think is healthy?
    Mostly none. Occasionally though, intervention may be necessary. An uncle of mine had depression. He really needed professional help. No one would even so much as suggest that to him. Everyone pretended he was fine. I think that’s wrong. Sometimes, we need someone to point things out. If we are concerned, it’s okay to state our concerns.

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    • Regarding Shazia Ilmi’s clip-Aam Aadmi Party does not believe in mixing politics & religion, neither does it endorse it. All our representatives should be careful in their choice of words so that there is no scope for misinterpretation.

      Here is the statement by Shazia Ilmi in response to the video clip:

      I wish to clarify the statement attributed to me regarding exhorting the Muslims to be more communal. Nothing can be farther from my intent and indeed my politics. It is quite clear from the tone and tenor of the conversation that I am using the word ‘secular’ and ‘communal’ in an ironic manner. And in an informal casual setting wherein a 80 second video clip purports to put context to a half hour conversation. The point was simply to say that the Muslim community has allowed itself to be used far too long by the so-called secular politics. It would be much better if the community were to turn to their real-life material interests, the so-called community interests like education, employment, etc. It should also be noted that I am making a plea to vote for a candidate who is not Muslim, and in the name of a leader who is not Muslim. I am shocked to see a statement like this can be distorted and misconstrued as communal or inciting hatred. My party and I have always stood against any form of communalism and shall continue to do so.
      http://www.aamaadmiparty.org/shazia-ilmis-statement-on-the-video-clip

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  14. There are a lot of comments that offer “concrete steps” and “solid solutions”, and while much of the advice is wonderful and necessary and well-intentioned, I think it really needs to be said that sometimes, you will just know it when you see it.

    I say this because learning to love yourself is not an easy thing. It simply isn’t. We’re humans, and we’re complicated, and we’re built to dislike things and be critical of things. There’s also the plain and simple fact that for many of us in society (especially women), we’ve been indoctrinated from very early on that we’re just not good enough in one way or another. There are industries built out of our lack of self-esteem, and these industries thrive on a society that continually tells us that we’re simply not good enough.

    So how do we know if we’re in a good place? And most importantly, how do we get to that good place to start with? I can’t speak for you, because this journey is different for everyone. What steps you take in your personal life to get to a good place is going to be different from the steps I take. For me, personally, it started with learning how to take care of myself. I’m not talking about daily routine things, but more in a sense of looking out for my own emotional well-being. If something was bothering me, or irritating me, or making me sad, I stopped doing whatever that was and did something that made me happier. Admittedly, a lot of the time, this meant bunking some of my larger responsibilities (going to classes, doing homework, work, etc.), but the way I see it, if I’m not going to be in a good emotional place while doing all these things, I wouldn’t be at my best anyway. Not to mention, doing these things without taking care of myself first would mean that my performance would suffer for something else that mattered a lot more (like an exam, or a project).

    I’m not saying that you need to dump all your responsibilities in favour of doing nothing (which is what a lot of people thought I was doing). But when times got really, really difficult, I found that there is no shame in saying, “That’s enough.” and taking a breather. Sometimes many breathers. Sometimes several in a row. I’m still struggling with self-esteem issues, and learning how to accept who I am and that I can only do things my way. I’m still struggling with knowing that myself and my abilities are more than enough, and that I don’t need to hold myself up to someone else’s (failing) yardstick. I still have a long, long way to go, and I think that’s one of the most important things that I’ve learned so far. That self-esteem and confidence and being happy with yourself is a process. You will have good days, and you will have bad days. Don’t let the bad days get you down.

    Another thing that helps is removing toxic people from your life. This is easier said than done, of course, but for me, just stopping contact with them, and knowing that I don’t owe them an explanation as to why (that’s very important to know) was very important. Just avoiding contact with negative people, or people who otherwise brought my psyche down was liberating, especially knowing that there was no obligation keeping me in contact with them. Like I said, this is much easier said than done, but if this is one of the problems you face, it might be worthwhile to look into.

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  15. I feel that happiness is FREEDOM – freedom to be totally oneself at any given moment – to be crazy, to be goofy, emotional, loving…anything and everything. There is nothing more beautiful than a man or woman who is utterly free in their spirit. Free from the judgments of society, and free from the judgments we put on ourselves.

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  16. Thank you everyone for your replies. I really appreciate the time and effort you have taken to respond. I have already started following a few techniques. Fingers crossed for future.

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