We always look to others for approval and appreciation. In fact it isn’t just a guiding force, but a determining force in our decisions and how we shape our lives. We are taught from childhood how important it is to gain respect, goodwill and applause from others. This conditioning drives us to believe that other people determine whether something is good, worthy, decent or respectable. This also means you have to tune out of your own instincts if it means going against the tide, because doing so means rebellion, which is almost always frowned upon. It’s strange how we learn to judge others (because in reality we are therefore the “other people” in their lives, and also thus in effect we are in a position of power to make others feel condemned or approved of), but don’t exercise the same level of discretion when it comes to judging or evaluating ourselves. Judge and be judged seems to be the rule of thumb and a ridiculous spiral people enter while trying to people please, gain acceptance, recognition, and self-worth. To make things simple, it is important to realise that Self-worth stems purely from self-love as well as Self-respect and self-care which are key elements.
However, and very strangely may I add, a majority have been told all their lives that self-love is vanity, self-care is selfish, and that respect comes from others. Do for others, care for others and gain their respect has been the anthem many elders have passed on for generations. Almost all our life choices are made based on self-worth and if you have issues with that, you will never make choices that empower you because your belief system states you are not good enough. Self-loathing, self-hate, self-destructive behaviour are all representative of an absence of self-love. Who is it that determined that you were/ are not good enough? You did! Based on what? Opinions, feedback or expectations of others! Good grief! Does that make any sense? Can you see the senseless and self-defeating process people put themselves through willingly? You will never be “good enough” by everyone else’s standards because everyone has their own version of what matches “their” standards. To make things even more interesting is that most people don’t even personally live up to the standards they set for others and many a time if they do it’s with an air of martyrdom that says, “I did it for you at the cost of me”. Why should you matter less than others? This journey of life is about you coming here to experience what you choose to. You intrinsically know what is good and bad, right and wrong, not as per moral code by society, but as a human being. Do something because it matters to you, not because it matters to someone else at the cost of you, your ambitions or self-respect. Look at yourself every morning in the mirror and smile. That is the only person who determines or should determine your value.
1. My daughter is in love with a guy who is nearly 10 years older than her. From where I see things, they don’t seem compatible because her thought process is very different from his. He’s a little old school while she is not. He’s a tad conservative, she is liberal. I am a little iffy about them making a decision to get married. They have been going out for two years now. I am planning to ask my daughter to live-in with the guy for a year, and make a decision to marry him only after that. Am I too liberal to suggest that?
Being liberal is not a flaw. It means that you are open minded and strive to extricate yourself from convention in matters where it’s for the best. At one point of time convention was you stay a virgin till marriage and then stay married and endure a bad marriage if it so be. If the concern is about your daughters future, given your analysis of the situation, it seems to be a toss up between the possibilities of live-in or divorce. If it’s a relationship that is meant to go the distance, the good news is that living in will prove it. If it fails, the good news is she doesn’t have to go through the social and legal drama that surrounds a divorce.
2. My husband and I have not been on talking terms for about six months now. We live under the same roof but we barely talk. It’s for the sake of our daughter that we are not moving apart officially. She is in her teens and can’t bear to see the two of us parting. Our differences are irreconcilable. I am torn between the mother and woman in me. Please tell me what should I do?
Your daughter is at a very vulnerable age as a teenager and many drama’s based on emotions, identity, stability play out at this point. Plus given the situation with education and covid it only compounds the frustration levels for all concerned. My suggestion would be to start living an independent life and preparing yourself for a new future once your daughter grows older. This means getting an independent set of friends, hobbies, joining clubs, focusing on increase your income stream etc. Tell your daughter you respect her feelings and she must in turn respect and empower your choices to better the quality of your life while in the dead marriage.
3. I was married to a narcissist. He was all about himself. Even our marriage was all about him. We didn’t do anything that he didn’t like. We even had sex on his whims and fancies. He wouldn’t even let me spend my earnings the way I wanted to. Eventually, my parents found out and they dragged me out of my marital home because I was getting more and more depressed living with him. It’s been a few months now. I can’t seem to get over him though he was hugely abusive in his ways and our marriage was never about me. I have been seeing a psychiatrist also but I don’t know how to help myself. Nothing seems to work on me.
There is no instant formula for ejecting out of a bad marriage, depression, and an almost Stockholm like syndrome. The good news is that you have taken the decision to do so and step by step you will rebuild your confidence, self-worth and move out of a victim mindset. Remember, the only reason you allowed yourself to stay in such a situation is because you didn’t know better, or feel you deserved better. Once those self-worth issues are addressed you will operate from a position of strength and self-love and create the wonderful life you deserve. I personally find clinical hypnosis hugely empowering for accessing deep rooted issues in the subconscious mind which govern our actions and reactions.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
END OF ARTICLE