firstly you need to fall in love...… with yourself!Before I reveal these secrets or you scroll down, let me begin with why you need to fall in love with yourself.
We ALL grow up wishing that somebody will fall in love with us. It is a powerful feeling when you are important to someone. But, the heady rush only lasts so long. After a while you become mechanical, you kiss goodbye at the door ’coz it is part of a routine, you hug ’coz you are supposed to and the actions become more important than the feelings. You start comparing things to how they were when everything was perfect. You notice every little thing and feel the difference acutely – ‘There were two blue marks 3 hours ago, but she has not WhatsApped yet!’ ‘Last year he picked a gift for mom from Singapore and this year he did not even wish her.’
Does love wane? It might.
When the expression of love does not change along with changes in life, you cling to memories instead of creating new experiences. And you also tend to expect too much from your partner – be my friend, lover, teacher, father confessor and agony aunt – you say? No? C’mon if you have ever been in any kind of long-term relationship all these expectations creep in. To fix this, just expand your circle to include different people for some of these roles.
More importantly, you need to fix yourself so you don’t seek your partner all the time for every little thing. That only happens when you love yourself. No, really think about it. Have you ever felt secure knowing that you love yourself? Does the thought of loving yourself seem a bit vain? Does it make you think of all your faults and flaws?
That is the way most of us have been raised – to never think about what makes us special and to always be aware of our shortcomings. Our strict Indian upbringing does that. Every other viral video on desi parents is a testimonial to how Indian kids never measure up or are good enough according to their parents. So the moment we find someone who thinks we are good, we want to latch on to them. That makes us more and more needy and not really ready to fulfill a need they have.
If you want a partner who is smart, thoughtful, funny and kind, he probably wants someone like that too. And unless you feel you are witty and wonderful, how can you be that kind of partner?
So now that you know you need to fall in love with yourself to be securely in love with someone else, you need to discover all those things that make you special. Are you ready? Here’s a good starting point.
1. Find an activity you like doing by yourself…No, not an exercise activity (though that is good too)
It can be something as simple as a foot soak at the end of the day. Don’t pick something you “have to” do by yourself. Pick something you want to do by yourself. Mine is spending half an hour over a cup of masala chai, dunking my biscuit till it is just right and reading something in peace before everyone wakes up.
2. Pick up a hobby
Go way out of your comfort zone and pick something you think is difficult for you. Last year, I picked up gardening even though I hate getting my hands dirty. I can’t even begin to describe what it felt like when I cooked my own home grown, organic okra (bhindi).
3. Practice gratitude
You can read this. That means you have the gift of sight. Being grateful for each thing that you can count on to make life enriching is a great way to end the day. Find one thing every day to be grateful for. If you need a little nudge to get going.
4. Buy something just for yourself every month
It need not be something expensive and it can’t be for the house or something that everyone in the family can use. It must be something for you. If not an object then maybe a spa pedicure. I like bath salts and oils and wait for opportunities (bathrooms with tubs) to try them!
5. Treat yourself to a short break or holiday every now and then
We grew up with the idea that holidays are family affairs so it still seems terribly indulgent and a luxury to travel by yourself. If you can’t go overnight, take a few hours or a whole day break. Do your thing and don’t be afraid to be shallow – go window shopping in a mall if that gives you a kick.
6. Tick off the top 3 items on your never ending to-do list
If you have too much stuff to catch up on and it seems like time is slipping by and you are not doing enough, make sure you complete at least three things that bother you the most. Finishing this piece is the third item on my list for today.
7. Forget bucket lists, just go for it
Say, you want to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight or your goal is to run a marathon, don’t jot it down. Staring at such lists month after month and achieving one thing once in a while is not for everyone. Instead just start working on one goal that you think you will achieve in a time frame you are comfortable with. I am giving myself four months to lose 10 kg.
8. Call that one awesome friend who always makes you laugh/feel better
It is tough to meet, but easy to call. So call a friend who cares every day. Maybe the same friend or a few different friends. It’s your call.
9. Be kind
Just as you need that one pick-me-up friend, you need to be kind to at least one person every day. It may or may not be a part of your nature to be kind to people, but this is important. (Chalk it up to conditioning yourself to become a thoughtful, kind and supportive person.)
10 . Forgive yourself
Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you have read all of this, then obviously at some point life has not been all that you expected it to be, but whether it was your fault or someone else’s, it’s time to let go.
Now that you know there is a way to change your equation with yourself, try at least one of these 10 things today to begin the process.
#LiveSimply is a series of experiences that have taught me to try and live simply. Can I manage to live simply? I don’t know. But, I intend to explore the possibility and I invite you to be a part of my journey. Comment to share your life experiences.