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“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
Most of us think that we are nothing but a by-product of our society.But, I recently awoke to the ultimate truth of our existence, which wouldn’t have been possible if certain changes hadn’t occurred in my personal life. Irrespective of where we are born and brought up, there are always certain aspects like our family, culture, society which have a strong influence on our personality .
But the good news is we have a choice to stand up for who we truly are and can choose to un follow the herd that we have been forced to follow all the years of our life.
‘I chose to create my own self on the day I woke up to the reality called life’
Some of us get to realize the true essence or purpose of our life at a very early age while some in the middle and sadly, some never.
Thanks to the unforeseen occurrences in my life, seems like I have fallen in the middle category:-). This in turn has led me to alter my thought patterns and beliefs to get in touch with my real fearless self.
Every country and culture has its positive and negative influence on the individuals who are born and bred on its soil. While some may travel to various countries to explore culture and food, some of us get an opportunity to reside, live & learn in a totally different country where we have never been before. Either ways, we are blessed.
I believe, everything happens to us for a reason. I now know the reason as to why I was placed in a foreign land by my destiny. This foreign land helped me to learn and grow as an individual and has helped me to learn from every situation that life pushed me in to.
In this post, I want to share some great lessons that I learnt living abroad, and I hope it will help many more women to take the necessary steps to achieving your dreams…
1. Break the cycle, Live a life of a Real woman:
Dear ladies, be aware of your freedom and basic right.
If you ask a woman in India what is happiness to her, she would say – ‘My children’s happiness is my happiness’. Or some may even say ‘My husband’s well-being is my happiness’ and so on. You seldom meet a woman who thinks about her own well being, whether it is consuming the left over rice after feeding the whole family or plodding on her daily duties to the best of her ability even though she may feel the sickest.
Hold on! Is it a women’s thing? Okay let’s put it this way, what’s the last thought we have before going to bed at night, apart from what to cook tomorrow?
Do a lot of us miss something at the end of the day???
Why does a woman think she is born to sacrifice her well-being and happiness for the sake of others?
Every girl and woman needs to realise that after all the sacrifices, adjustments, patience and perseverance, there is a life within each one of us and remember you are the first person you need to please. You are no less than the people around you.
Therefore break the cycle. It is important to take that one step to reach out for your passions, irrespective of your age, family, circumstances etc. I have seen men going to cricket or going to movies with friends every weekend or buy their favorite brands while the poor wife saves money rather than spending it on the activities she would love to go to.
Be aware that you are a free spirit and this universe wants you to win.
2. Break the cycle, you live only once:
I realized how worthy life is after my diagnosis with Crohn’s disease and how unworthy it is to hold on to regrets, anger, guilt and resentment.
By the time we finish studying, forced to get married, raise children…half our life has gone. Why does life have to be a mere drill of duties and responsibilities? Our prime purpose of life is not only to make others happy but ourselves too.
I wouldn’t prefer to comment about other countries or culture but having been born and brought up in India, I faced similar issues like any other women who were forced to meet certain expectations of the society.
Even now, I observe a lot of women holding on to the feelings of guilt, even for the mistakes they haven’t committed. Every woman need to remember to let go of guilt and move on. Yes, our society or families do put us to shame at times and makes us feel guilty for silly reasons. But remember you are special and unique in every single way.
Break the cycle. Let go of guilt and resentment and remember to stand up for yourself. You are special!
3. Break the cycle, Choose to live in a good Relationship
How many women are scared to step out of an abusive relationship or when there is no love in the relationship just because they seek the welfare of their children or fear the consequences of living in a lame society?
No matter where we live, if a man continues to degrade a woman and if a women bears all the pains and continues to stay in the relationship ,Ladies! You are missing a beautiful life that’s waiting for you. This doesn’t mean you need to walk out straight after an argument with your partner but use your discrimination. You don’t have to stick around in an abusive relationship or a cheating partner for the sake of the society or children. Husband is not God, like some of our great grandparents believed.
I learnt that by staying in an abusive relationship, we are being a bad example for our children. Don’t be surprised if your daughter is willing to stay with a man who beats her to death every single time, just because her mum stayed in a similar relationship. No man has the right to beat or abuse a woman. Most of us think its okay for a man to abuse us since we committed this or that mistake. It’s nonsense.
I have heard a million times from some women that their husband gives importance to his parents and treats her like a slave or servant. This is definitely not a cultural thing. I assume the so-called male chauvinism still prevails and will continue to prevail until every woman realises her self-worth.
Likewise, I wouldn’t always blame a man for all the relationship issues. In fact, when I once suggested to one of my colleague to take help from her husband to wash the dishes or cook when she was unwell, she immediately defended her husband and said that it’s a women’s job to do housework and that she wouldn’t let her husband to do the kitchen work.
There you go!
A lot of us women need to understand, abuse is not only physical but it can also be psychological, verbal, emotional, spiritual, financial or sexual.
How many women in India get beaten by a drunkard husband at night and still choose to sleep with him for his physical pleasure not withstanding that she is unwilling to perform the act. So…
4. Break the cycle, it’s okay to say “No” even if they are your parents
Why do some parents force children to do something they are not comfortable with, be it marriage or pursuing one’s passions? Why do most parents impose their beliefs and fears upon their children?
One thing that caught my attention lately is that, I find many (not all) Indian parents treat kids like adults and adults like kids:-) .
Parents do have good intentions for their children, yes. But they also need to know that they are not their saviour. After a certain age most parents in western culture let their children go and learn from their own experiences. But in countries like India, most of us lose our freedom and birthright and get victimized to emotional blackmail, sentiments and superstitious beliefs of our parents.
I am sure with the changing trend, some parents have made and some still making great efforts to change. But it’s sad to know that majority of them are still stuck in the vicious cycle. I still see Indian parents seeking bride or groom for their children.One of my friends, who is at the age of 32, is expected to get married according her parents’ choice. How more weird could this be. Uhh!
After living abroad for few years now, I feel really frustrated when I hear people back in India saying, “Listen to your parents” Why can’t some parents trust and support their children’s decisions in life? ?
Are parents always right and children always wrong? Considering the age factor, elders may have experienced more life than us but each one of us is unique in our attitude, beliefs and experiences.This doesn’t mean you have to rebel against your parents but do convey your viewpoint politely:-).
I strongly believe that every child deserve to have their own space and privacy. In reality, there are still a lot of parents who interfere a little too much in their children’s lives up to such an extent that the child loses his/her identity.
Similarly, when it comes to raising a female child, I feel, every parent should raise her like an equal, not inferior to man. There should be no prejudice the way they bring up their son and daughter.
Yes, safety of the girl child in the Indian society is a huge concern. We don’t hear a man getting raped, do we? But some parents don’t realize that instilling those fears/ planting those seeds of fears in their children is not helping them to grow and flourish. Rather, these fears are just being passed on from generation to generation. Every parent should educate and assure their children that the universe is a safe place to live. Instead of instilling fear in the girl child, it is important the parents teach the boy/male child to respect woman, by being examples.
5. Break the cycle, it is okay to go to temple during periods:
Don’t worry, it’s just superstitions and after all God is not bad and you are not accountable for those man-made taboos.
6. Break the cycle, It is okay to have a separate bank account:
We don’t have to handover our income to our husband and let him take care of all the financial dealings. Learn to manage your own money. You won’t know what to expect out of life the next moment. Be ready anyways.
7. Break the cycle, It is okay to be independent and educate yourself about what’s happening around you:
Visit community centers, form an all-women group where you can share your thoughts. Work together and empower each other. Make your own friends. Don’t always rely only on the family gatherings with your husband’s friends and their partners. Sometimes you just don’t match with them.
Also, when it comes to workplace, I have seen a lot of women complaining about their workplace and still remaining in the same workplace no matter if they are treated with respect or not. They act in such a way that is the only workplace that exists in the city. But let’s admit that some of us are lazy to take responsibilities and a lot of us don’t want to step out of our comfort zone
My experiences have taught me that:
• It’s ok to stand up for what you believe in.
• Self-love is the greatest love of all.
• We can’t control what happens to us but we can choose how to respond.
• It’s okay to spend on things we like.
• A sacrifice is not worthy if it doesn’t make you happy at the end.
• Life is not about just marriage, men or having kids. Life is about our individual experiences and celebrating our successes, as life wants each and every one of us to win.
• Each one of us deserves the best. Never waste time with regrets or guilt.
• Everyone has the right to make their individual choices in life.
• Not only the world appears magical when we fall in love with a boy/girl but also when we fall in love with ourselves.
• It’s not always about others, be it our parents, children or friends, It’s about you too.
• Be it marriage or having a kid, do things only when you are ready, not with the pressure of parents, friends or society. Do not give away your life in someone else’s hand.
• Above all, don’t ask permission from your husband to do what you want to do. Rather, share and discuss your ideas with your partner.
Australia has supported me in various ways and helped me become a better person. It has re instilled the faith in myself and made me aware of my self-worth.
Everyone is unique and we all live only once. I don’t think we want to go to bed every single day with yearning in our heart, for the things we have missed or the things we want to achieve in life.
Have you observed that when you have the freedom and when you are free from external pressures you make fewer mistakes and plan things more efficiently? Only when we step out of a comfort zone we know what exactly life is.
I was not taught to love myself when I was a child. Rather the society put me to shame in so many different ways. I did not value myself until I reached 30+. We all grow up with beliefs that have been imposed on us by our parents, teachers, society etc.
Therefore, Change it, Break the cycle!
Note: This post is not written against any particular male, female,partners or parents. It’s a mixture of my personal experiences along with stories of other women traveling this journey together with me. This write-up may not imply to all women, but for the ones who need that reassurance and to those facing squashed feelings of self-doubt…
This is for you…:-)
“Stay strong, live your life well. With every courageous step you take, only good will happen”.
Sending Love and Prayers