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Self Love And Personal Growth

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by nuss, Jan 13, 2022.

  1. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    I received a text from my new hairdresser before the appointment.

    HD: What do you want to do with your hair? Can you tell me a bit more about your hair type and plan?

    Me: I am from India so think about dark, thick, wavy Indian hair. I would like to get layers and subtle highlights.

    I arrived at the salon and our first discussion went like this:
    HD: what color highlights would you like? I can see some blonde and auburn would look pretty since you have a natural red tinge. We can specifically color the problem areas, I mean, the few grays that are peeking.

    Me: No, I like the way my hair looks. I love the dark color so don’t want a huge contrast. Warm caramel maybe? Something of a peekaboo effect and no I am not looking to hide grays.

    This sounds like just a normal conversation we have with our new hairdressers but it was more than normal for me. For years (decades?) I disliked my curly hair. I always wanted sleek hair like my sister. And here I was finally accepting my hair and by extension- accepting myself.

    For those of us who grew up in India, constant comparison about everything (from our grades to our looks) has been a part of growing up! When you grow up with older sisters who are more beautiful and outgoing, it is even harder to love yourself the way you are.

    Today, I may exude confidence. When someone meets me and talks to me, they probably won’t see the vulnerable little girl within me. But as I am raising two children of my own, I am also learning to encounter and work on my own vulnerabilities.

    I have thought about why I always wanted to be like my sister.

    Because she was outgoing and during our teenage years, she used to get all the attention from outsiders. She had tons of friends, she was the life of the party. And me? I was the quiet, nerdy little sister who will always have a book to keep herself occupied. I was the one who her friends will look at and say, "your sister is pretty, why doesn’t she dress up like you"? It wasn’t that I didn’t care about dresses, but my sister would always choose the better outfits for herself. We were together in college and my friends were mostly just her friends. In graduate school, we went our own ways and the friendships I developed are the ones that are dear to me. I grew out of my sister’s shadow and started experimenting with my own style and found what I liked.

    My sister and I talked about this during my recent India visit and I was blown away with her side of the story. She mentioned that she always wanted to pick the best outfits and look the best because I always got all the attention from family for being the smartest in the extended circle. She felt vulnerable around me because I never failed an exam- whatever it was, and she needed to be better at something. I had never thought this way. We all have insecurities about things that probably only we know and we think that we are the only ones dealing with the insecurities. However, the truth is- we all are fighting different demons.

    For the last several years, I have slowly started to work on myself. I am learning to love myself- the true and authentic me. There are times when I fail miserably. Like, when someone here in IL said-“Oh stop boasting about yourself, you got out of a bad marriage, that’s all”. Honestly, it hit me hard. Why a stranger’s opinion would make an impact? I have thought about it and I understand that for me, my divorce was just a part of my life that is over but for most people, that’s where they focus. They try to hit us where it might hurt and by doing so they perhaps feel better about themselves. Or, just want to remind us that our lives are not perfect.

    Of course, our lives are not perfect because perfection is an illusion! And, that’s what brings me to this topic of self-love and personal growth. I am learning to understand that my life is my own with all the imperfections in it and I love it just the way it is. I have learned this intense love from my children- they love their mom with all her imperfections! If they love me the way I am so why can’t I? Self-love is not about flowers and spas, travel to exotic places, or date nights, I think to me it is accepting me and letting go of self-critics and judgments. Let go of the internalized stuff and liberate that little girl so she can fly.

    The journey of self-love has also been a part of personal growth. According to Thrive Global- “Personal growth is the process by which a person recognizes themselves and continually develops to reach his or her full potential.”

    I have been on this journey of emotional, financial, social, and spiritual growth. As I am growing more confident in my skin, I also feel the maturity that comes with experiences (and maybe age), success in professional life, financial stability, helps with the path towards happiness. I feel that physical and emotional well-being are intimately tied with self-love. Learning to Love ourselves is the most powerful thing to heal the past and work through our perceived limitations/beliefs and realize the true self. Once we accept ourselves, accepting others becomes easier and we are able to love unconditionally. This is what I have learned from my children, especially my 6-year old daughter. She would always say-“Mommy, I love you, and daddy, and brother, and myself!” It is a great reminder that before we love others, we have to love ourselves!

    Happy 2022! And may we all grow to be less critical of ourselves and love unconditionally!
     
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  2. hrastro

    hrastro Finest Post Winner

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    Awesome thoughts @nuss

    Self-love is so difficult - the current generation has even more problems due to their fast lives and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) what their peers are doing on instagram and facebook and snapchat and other "lives"!

    To accept ourselves, we need to understand ourselves. For that we need to look deep inside and introspect... we must make note of our successes along with our failures !

    Not depending on others appreciation and acknowledgements is another aspect - We should be able to love our strengths whether we get acknowledged for it or not!

    Yet another is to be able to accept and take responsibility for ones mistakes and inefficiencies - and learn and grow from them and not blame others for it

    Loved your message @nuss
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Happy 2022

    Keep smiling
    HR
     
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  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @nuss,

    A very well written snippet emphasizing the importance of self-love and personal growth. One can emulate the good qualities of someone only when they create a baseline of their own qualities. Frankly, the comparison should happen only with where one was a few years back when compared to now and where one needs to be in future. One needs to be comfortable whereever one is. Self-love enhances the self-confidence, self-confidence gives self-satisfaction and self-satisfaction contributes to self-growth.

    Grooming includes a) Developing great qualities, b) Learning new things, c) Having a good attitude, d) Learning good communication skill, e) Strategizing personal growth and f) lastly, personal hygiene and dress sense.

    Mostly, people ignore the last one so much thinking that people can respect me for who I am more than how I dress up. But dressing up actually contributes to self-love which eventually contributes for self-growth.
     
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  4. Mistt

    Mistt IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Nuss,
    Very nice thoughts and in one sentence I liked your whole blog completely.
    I know we give importance or hurt by unknown person's comments on virtual world. We don't need to look for appreciation or acknowledge from others when we are doing right. Just forget those comments and remember that your life journey is inspiration to many readers here.
    Above lines are 100% true and I feel that true love from my children. They just love me without counting my flaws.
    [/QUOTE]
    I have been focusing on that and changing myself. Wish you happy 2022.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
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  5. indubalram

    indubalram Platinum IL'ite

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    I know we give importance or hurt by unknown person's comments on virtual world. We don't need to look for appreciation or acknowledge from others when we are doing right. Justforget those comments and remember that your life journey is inspiration to many readers here.

    To this I want to ask something! How does others comments doesn’t matter! We live in a certain society. Don’t we have a social responsibility?
     
  6. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    Happy 2022 @hrastro! You are right- success and failure go hand in hand. Something I tell my students is, how would you know the true meaning of success if you haven't failed? Failing is important on the path of learning. It help us learn to do things better or differently.
     
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  7. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    Thank you @Viswamitra ji! I have come to believe that "dress sense" is our own personal comfort. I am one of those people who doesn't follow trends but I believe that I dress the way I feel comfortable and good about myself. Part of growing up is to know what makes us happy (of course I am not a sloppy dresser, never been one :))- be it how we carry ourselves or what we want to spend our time on.
     
  8. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    I have been focusing on that and changing myself. Wish you happy 2022.[/QUOTE]


    Thank you, @Mistt! I usually don't get affected by people's opinions about me. My children have definitely helped me grow as an individual. I am trying to be the person that they see!
     
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  9. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    No, it doesn't matter. What someone else thinks about me is their problem, not mine. I am who I am and I have made decisions that I felt were right for me. I am living my life, not society. I don't owe society anything. If I am happy, I have worked toward that happiness. if I am sad- I need to work to change my situation to overcome the sadness.

    We do not have a social responsibility to take everyone's comments/opinions to the heart.

    Our social responsibility is to be good, ethical person who helps others upward movement.
     
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  10. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    "I know you don't. I perhaps phrased it incorrectly. I meant to say how the word someone used in IL could be hurtful. No way, life will boil down to one action and if that is the case, no one would survive. I have nothing but admiration for everything you already are."

    Dear @Viswamitra ji- I am replying to your comment here so that I can leave the other thread alone :).

    I did not misunderstand your words and intention! You have been a wonderful supporter here. Even during the incident that I brought up (about my divorce comment), you were the first one to come to my support.

    The interesting thing is that thread had nothing to do about relationships. It was about "accent" or lack of it and the poster had to bring up my divorce in the comments because I said I don't have much of an accent anymore (for a variety of reasons). I think that's what bothered me a bit. Why did my relationship status need to be discussed in an entirely unrelated topic?

    Anyhow, as an Indian woman, I need to develop (and have developed) a very thick skin to deflect these comments. Words are powerful! And especially the days we are feeling less sure of ourselves (again for a variety of reasons), a positive comment can lift up the morale while a negative comment can hit harder than usual.

    Thank you for always bringing positivity to the IL!
     
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