Do you love your­self?

Most of us don’t think about our re­la­tion­ship with our­selves, yet that is a defin­ing el­e­ment in any re­la­tion­ship we set out to have with oth­ers

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTWEEKEND - SIM­RAN MANGHARAM Sim­ran Mangharam is a dat­ing coach and founder of floh.in. She can be reached at sim­ran@floh.in

We crave un­con­di­tional love, but do we love our­selves un­con­di­tion­ally? In my coach­ing ses­sions on dat­ing, I ask peo­ple to name five things they love about them­selves. More than half re­spond by say­ing, ‘I’ve never re­ally thought about that’.

Self-ne­glect seems to be among the few univer­sal trap­pings of mod­ern-day liv­ing. But the foun­da­tion of a strong re­la­tion­ship be­gins with self-love. Self-love means that you ac­knowl­edge and ac­cept the im­por­tance of your own hap­pi­ness and well-be­ing. It im­plies that you are tak­ing care of your own needs and not sac­ri­fic­ing your well-be­ing in an un­healthy quest to please oth­ers.

It also means you know your­self, and are com­fort­able with who you are, warts and all. That you are kind to your­self, and for­giv­ing of mis­takes.

One of the most iconic ex­pres­sions of self­love is the line said by Ka­reena Kapoor as the char­ac­ter Geet, in Jab We Met :“Main apni favourite hoon”. It may seem ditzy, but there’s a rea­son that line be­came so pop­u­lar. Deep down, we all want to feel like that.

It isn’t easy. Two things we are ex­posed to very early in life come in the way of our lov­ing our­selves. The first is com­par­isons. We’re urged to be the best in class, the best at sports, the best at ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties. Most par­ents act like they can’t even see — let alone make peace with — the truth: That there can only be one ‘best’ in each class. Rather than iden­ti­fy­ing the spe­cific gifts and tal­ents of each child, we set them all off on an im­pos­si­ble tra­jec­tory right there.

The sec­ond fac­tor then piles on to the first — the idea of ‘log kya ka­henge’. As a so­ci­ety, we con­tinue to be pre­oc­cu­pied by what oth­ers think or may think of us. Many ma­jor life de­ci­sions are made based on what the col­lec­tive ‘oth­ers’ might say.

The truth is, no one lives your life on a daily ba­sis. So for­get the com­par­isons. Re­place the voice in your head that says you have to ‘be the best’, with one that re­minds you to ‘do your best’. Set your own stan­dards for success and hap­pi­ness. De­fine what you de­sire.

This is true es­pe­cially when it comes to find­ing a part­ner. The flawed idea that you may only marry a per­son with a spe­cific re­sume, lim­its your own chances at hap­pi­ness.

One way to ex­pand your chances at hap­pi­ness is to know and love your­self. Set aside time, money and mindspace to take care of your­self. If for some rea­son you end up feel­ing self­ish, re­mind your­self of those flight-safety videos that in­struct you to “put your oxy­gen mask on first, be­fore help­ing oth­ers”.

Many years ago, I had the for­tune of be­ing men­tored by the mo­ti­va­tional guru Jim Rohn. He fa­mously said that you are the av­er­age of the five peo­ple you spend most time with. So sur­round your­self with positive peo­ple. It is com­mon for peo­ple to seek val­i­da­tion from those least likely to pro­vide it. Break that pat­tern. Spend time with those who love you and want to be with you.

Re­mem­ber, you can­not be in a lov­ing, last­ing re­la­tion­ship un­less you’re able to love your­self first. Make a list of the things you love about your­self, and keep adding to it. Look at it ev­ery day. Own your­self with pride and let the world see you in that happy state.

SELF-LOVE IN­DI­CATES THAT YOU KNOW YOUR­SELF, AND ARE COM­FORT­ABLE WITH WHO YOU ARE; THAT YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN NEEDS. IT ALSO IM­PLIES THAT YOU CAN BE KIND, AND FOR­GIV­ING OF MIS­TAKES

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