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.
* * *
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.
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)
What are you criticised the most for?