I’m sure when you read this, your social media is going ablaze celebrating women across the world. Chances are that you’ve received a million WhatsApp messages since morning, reminding you of only how important you are. Or that your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours have wished you too. For today, on Women’s Day, the world has decided to dedicate a day to celebrate us, and our existence.
Yet, when was the last time you celebrated yourself? When was the last time you patted yourself on your back, and congratulated yourself, for even on your smallest achievement? When did you feel proud of what you have become so far?
A year ago, I chose to start a platform called TheChannel46, to create a safe space for the aspirational Indian woman. And a year down the line, if there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, is that we womenfolk, don’t celebrate ourselves enough. Either we’re always working towards a better version of ourselves. Or we’re busy catering to multiple social expectations (look nice, get married at the right age, have a baby, juggle work and family life etc). Or, we depend on others, to celebrate us.
While it does feel nice to have a day dedicated to yourself, perhaps it is also important to remember that you can celebrate yourself, in small yet meaningful ways.
Here’s my list to celebrate yourself, every day. To remind yourself that you matter throughout the year!
1. Take Out Time For Yourself
You don’t always have to play the wife, sister, daughter, mother, friend – all those roles you play on a daily basis. Sometimes, you must do things for yourself, and it is absolutely OKAY to do so without a sense of guilt. Whether it is going to the gym because you absolutely need an hour daily to devote to good health and fitness, taking a course in photography because you’ve always wanted to, or even going on a little holiday with your best friends. Society often tends to guilt-trip women, calling them selfish if they prioritize their happiness over others’. But, the logic is simple here. You can’t make others happy if you’re not happy yourself. Just like they say on an airplane, first put on your oxygen mask, before you help others.
2. Learn To Draw Boundaries
As women, we’re often told to adjust, and comprise, and forgive. Because our mothers and grandmothers have told us – that is the secret to happy relationships. However, as some of us learn the hard way, anything that damages your self-esteem or happiness cannot be good for you. Even if it’s your own family, please do not put up with every single thing, just because you must. It’s important to communicate what is acceptable and what is not. After all, if they celebrate us on Women’s Day, they must also learn to respect us and our choices.
3. Revel In Your Imperfections
It’s not your fault that society (and sometimes even social media!) make you feel guilty for not having the perfect body, wardrobe, house, relationship, job – the list goes on. While it’s always good to work towards a better version of whatever it is you want, it’s also important you remember to not beat yourself up constantly for the flaws. Being less self-critical and more accepting of yourself is the best possible mantra to internal happiness, trust me!. Because like you, they love yourself, and the world shall learn to love you. Please yourself, not them.
4. Focus On Internal Happiness
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, social media often plays a huge role in making one feel insecure. But what you must remember, is that happiness comes from within, not from what others think or speak about you. There will always be someone with a better job, a cousin whose wedding lehenga was better than yours, or someone who gets to travel more. But you need to focus on your inner journey, and what makes you happy. Less comparison, more introspection!
5. Tell Yourself “I Can”
Many times, we tend to not pursue things, only because we get overwhelmed and end up doubting ourselves in the process. Also, because (some) people around us keep telling us that what you’re trying to do is too hard, or will take a long time to achieve. This is where you need to become your own cheerleader if no one else will support you. Take a deep breath, trust yourself, and do it. Because self-belief is perhaps the first step to any achievement.
All of these things might sound a little philosophical, but I promise you they’re not. Try to make these changes, however small – to your everyday life. And notice the difference. Because I did.
And on that note, may I wish you all a very Happy Women’s Day. May you always continue to be the extraordinary being that you are.