Sunday, July 14, 2013

Love yourself

I have two little girls - two beautiful little girls. My six year old is already in the fragile self esteem phase - checking herself out in the mirror at every opportunity, hating her naturally wavy hair. If her hair will be straight in the morning or not is the biggest stress she has before she goes to bed. And did I say she is six?

All through my childhood I was considered to be pretty. My best friend who is a stunning beauty always said that I had the most beautiful skin she had ever seen. My parents always praised me and it was a given that any color would look good on me given my fair complexion etc. Beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder. I used to have my front two teeth overlapping each other. Uptil the point of meeting my in laws and P, everyone I knew raved about how my smile was so natural and sweet. My father always said our quirks made us unique or we would be all the same.

On my in laws side both my husband and sister in law have perfect straight teeth thanks to orthodontic treatments rendered in their childhood. My father in law asked that I get braces done after we got engaged/married. This point was brought up in every conversation that we had. My mother in law told my mother and a close relative that she had asked her son - do you want to marry this girl? Her teeth are not straight, she has some problem with her eyes (I have a slight Shashi Kapoorish squint) and she is adopted and that her son said Yes, I want to marry her. I don't know if this was supposed to be a compliment or a slap or both or one disguised in the other. Over time I have realized that my mother in law is not the best communicator - maybe she doesn't mean some things but they come out wrong.

Newly married I looked at myself through my husband's eyes and had the first huge hit to my self esteem. My teeth bothered him (many years later I got an expensive orthodontic treatment done and now I have a perfectly aligned teeth smile), my weight bothered him and does to this day - his mother and sister are size zeros and below; they both barely eat a roti and me, eating with gusto was a shock to him, my wavy hair bothered him. My self esteem took hit after hit. I was so confused - I thought I was great - my friends and family say so then why don't I have a husband who is dizzy crazy in love with me. He was/is in love with me, don't get me wrong but it wasn't the blind throw yourself in love kind of love. It was measured and always realistic and critical and full of recommendations for how I can improve myself.

Down the years we also had to face many many tough situations and he unfalteringly stood behind me and held my hand and had my back as required. I also realized that this is who he is and this is how he is brought up. His mother is also prone to seeing the bad in situations and people - they are not simple satisfied happy people. There is always something that nags them stresses them. Roses have no smell, something is not sweet enough, grandchildren are not affectionate enough, there is no curry in the meal - the list goes on and on. My father in law on the other hand is always at peace. He has his own world but he keeps himself mentally and physically occupied.

As we try to coach our older daughter who has inherited most of these qualities to always see the good in people and situations, to appreciate and be grateful and to express affection and contentment; it's a revision of all these thoughts for us too.

As women, I feel that we are prone to self doubt, guilt and emotions; I will make sure my babies first and foremost learn to accept and love themselves and believe in themselves and not ever rely on any other person for it. My dearest children, I will always be in your camp cheering you on, saying that you are the smartest, prettiest , awesomest girl ever but I need you to believe it yourself and not ever let anyone bring you down anyday.


  1. Sonia, you don't know me, I stumbled upon your blog last year and I am posting for the first time.

    I can so relate to what you are saying. I had a similar experience in my marriage, though not for looks but for nature.

    I am very outgoing and effervescent person. My whole family loved me for what I am. They never curbed me or told me that being outgoing is being unlady like. And then 13 years ago I got married. And then started the critical comments from my husband and his family. How I was too loud, how I was too fast (yes, you see "ladies" work slowly...), how I was too rash and unpolished, how my enthusiasm about everything in life made it seem like I had never seen anything good in life, the list went on and on. Like you I was so confused why my husband married me if I had so many faults. He is not perfect by any means but I never found fault in him. Then why did he? Why was he always so critical of my every action?

    Over the period of time and after many fights he did stop mentioning my faults to me. But you know...the scars remain. When I remember my initial years of marrigae they are filed with a lot of pain, pain of not being accepted, pain of losing out on building a loving relationship free of all societal pressures....

    I just want to let you know you are not alone. Sometimes I feel that us Indian women are brought up wrong. We don't marry the man, we marry the whole family!! And thats where the issues start. I have made peace wuth myself and with the fact I am an honest person. I don't even care what my in-laws think. I simply stop talking to them when they are mean.

    PS. You don't have o publish this comment if you don't feel like it. Your situation resonates so much with me that this time I couldn't hold myself.

  2. At first every body love your self. Read the blog carefully and follow the link: Clipping Path

  3. Swati, big hugs!! I have come to realise after a long time that its a big part of how they were brought up too; the kind of environment they were in. As I get to know my in laws better, I realise that the attributes that bother me in my husband are completely normal for his family.

    Try to let go of the past; its a poison that will kill you. When they dont even think they are doing anything wrong, they will never realise the pain caused.

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