LOVE Thyself



——————–by Anjana Tripathy———————

     Happy 2017!

Come February and love is wafting in the air. Chocolates,roses, teddies, rings and cakes flash around all minds – young and old . After all it’s the month of love !

Here’s a take on love, but with a slightly different flavour to it.

Over the last two years in college, something has become glaringly obvious to me: it’s very difficult to stay positive if you don’t love who you are.

This truth has become so vital to who I am that I am making it a priority in 2017. Though I am not big on New Year’s resolutions, the start of a new year is a pretty good time to reflect on the past year, reevaluate where you are now, and redirect your energy in whichever direction you’d like to go in the next twelve months.

It was during some serious introspection towards the end of the year, that I realised how essential self-love has become, especially for the youth. How much more of it do I actually need in my life. I talk the talk, but I don’t always walk the walk.

I know I’m not alone in this. Maybe we love our work, but hate our bodies. Or we love the way we look, but hate how we act in relationships. Self-love is challenging because it’s all-encompassing. To truly experience it, you can’t just love a portion of yourself; you have to love yourself in totality. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been putting this ‘Year of Self-Love’ into practice by asking myself this question every time I have had a thought or have taken any action.

“Is this an act of loving myself?” It is extremely imperative for today’s youth to ask themselves this question; since, inside the confident and loud persona lies a vulnerable and under-confident individual whose self-respect is so brittle, that it engulfs all sensibilities.

Sudhakar, twenty-one and a budding IT professional, committed suicide, last week by hanging himself from the ceiling of his hostel room. According to his room-mates, Sudhakar’s third semester results might have been the catalyst which triggered off his ultimate step. He had been extremely depressed about his scores and had turned reclusive since the semester results were out.

Jyotiranjan, twenty-seven years, is currently languishing in jail for a brutal acid attack on Dipti , his friend’s sister. Dipti had thwarted his advances and refused his proposal of love. Jyotiranjan’s self-esteem was badly dented and this attack was his revenge, as he seethed in humiliation.

Common news bytes these days, right? As a part of today’s young generation, I identify closely with these incidents, because I too have faced rejection in love, elimination in job interviews, peer pressure , acamedic pressure from parents and a lot many heartburns. I’ve been through suicidal pangs , disagreements with parents and friends, gone into depression, felt like a loser in life and suffered from poor self-esteem to an extent where I have stopped loving myself!

Cases of youth involvement in rape, road-rage, eve-teasing, ragging, bullying, suicide attempts and a lot more, are on the rise .

Results of recent surveys have linked low self-esteem to a number of negative syndromes among the youth, including:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Dropping out of school or
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse
  • Eating Disorders
  • Insomnia or Sleeplessness
  • Poor Social Skills
  • Criminal Behaviour

Low self-esteem stems from lack of self-love and is more than an unpleasant feeling. It takes a toll on our lives.

Most often, asking this question influences my actions. The crucial aspect about this question is that it causes you to be more conscious of what you are doing, what you’re saying, and how you’re thinking and feeling. Many of us (including me !)spend so much time operating on autopilot mode, doing what we’ve always done because it’s worked ok so far. But, I don’t know about you, but ‘okay’ isn’t really what I’m striving for in my life. And I believe self-love is the best way to avoid the default path, to create a life that is way better than just ‘okay’.

I’ve got some really exciting things coming up in 2017, and I can’t wait to dedicate this year to loving myself more and also to help you do the same! So this month onwards, let’s keep asking ourselves the question-“ Is this an act of loving myself?”, as often as we can. It might not inflence all our actions, but awareness is the first step to making this the most worthwhile & the most loving year till date! Come, fall in love with yourself! ❏

Sometimes you might receive something on a platter that others can’t even dream of having. Respect what you receive and respect the giver, but remember that life’s greatest satisfactions come from achieving goals through your own hard work and on having the tenacity to overcome the odds that life is guaranteed to throw at you.  Poly Patnaik

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