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Unlearning Insecurities

It took me a lot of courage to write what you’re about to read right now; as it throws light on one of the biggest insecurities that I’ve had since childhood. But I thought that this was something that needed to be shared and talked about, because we’ve all been through this in one way or the other and have been affected by it at some point in our lives.

There have been multiple instances where people, including my friends, family, relatives, cousins or even acquaintances, have commented on my acne, thin hair, bald spot or belly. Be it unintentional jokes, unsolicited advice or taunts, the remarks on my looks and body have affected me at a psychological level since I was a school-going girl, occasionally leading to emotional outbursts and breakdowns; taking a toll on my self-confidence and self-esteem.

No matter how much I try to forget these comments, they tend to come back to me again and again, with more and more people adding on to them. “Are you undergoing a treatment for acne”, “You’ve got so many pimples! Is this a reaction to something?”, “You’ve got such thin hair with so less volume”, “You’ve put on weight, haven’t you?”… Constantly hearing judgemental statements such as these has always been making me so self-conscious about my appearance in whatever I do, whenever I speak and wherever I go.

Although the awareness about effects of appearance and body shaming is increasing day by day, it’s not enough. I feel that sometimes people just don’t realise how harshly this might affect someone and for how long this might stay with them. They say that the jokes are all in good humour or that they are just concerned and are thus sharing their opinions and advices, but only those who are at the receiving end of it know how frequently they have to deal with such unsought commentary every single day.

Despite making conscious efforts to not let someone else’s view determine my sense of beauty, I cannot help but succumb to it sometimes. But that does not stop me from trying. I believe that there are always going to be people who point out your “imperfections”, but you need to remind yourself time and again that their opinions simply do not matter, because they are just focusing on what you look like, and not what you are or what you do.

We are all insecure about something or the other, and most of the times it’s because people make us think that we should be insecure about it, by mocking us or by trying to give us remedies to look better. But try not to let people’s judgements make you insecure about anything. I know it’s easier said than done. So, here’s another thing you can do – try not to be that person; a person who points out or jokes about certain aspects of someone’s appearance. There are already many people who do that. So, the least you could do is to not be one of them, isn’t it?

-Khushi Goyal

Choices

This particular picture is one of my favourite clicks. I was walking down a bystreet near my college when these trees grabbed my attention. Tall, lush and green ones on the right; whereas short, dry and shrivelled ones on the left side of the same road. I took out my phone, almost instinctively, to capture the splendidness of nature that I was witnessing. But it’s the symbolism behind this splendidness that makes it one of my favourites. So, here’s how I see it.

Needless to say, the two types of trees in this photo were exposed to the same environment and were surrounded by the same aura. And yet they turned out to be so different from one another, rather poles apart. Why? Simply because the same conditions affected each of them differently, depending on its kind and its needs. Isn’t the same applicable to us humans as well?

Similar situations or circumstances affect each one of us differently, depending on our attitude, our beliefs and values, our personality. Likewise, a person who brings out the best in you might have a negative impact on someone else. A hobby fancied by you might be detested by your sibling or friend. This stands true for almost anything and everything; be it books, music, movies, habits, passions, people…

But unlike the trees, we have the freedom to choose our company and our surroundings. We have the power to change our environment according to our needs. So, make the most of this power and choose what makes you grow, choose what makes you blossom. Because what’s good for others may not always be beneficial for you.

-Khushi Goyal

Addressing the Avoided

A few days back, for the first time ever, I had a moderate level anxiety attack. Heavy breathing, heart palpitations, uncontrollable tears… I could actually hear my heartbeats, while falling short of breath. Fortunately, this happened when my mother was there by my side; so she helped me calm down. However, those few minutes of perturbation served as a warning sign to address what I had been avoiding for long – my emotions.

The past few weeks have been difficult for all of us. We are all confined to our homes, confronting the worst possible nightmare. Seeing the things we had planned falling apart; all while feeling miserable and helpless about the current situation. This is what many of us are going through, including me. All my plans for this year seem to be going haywire. The uncertainty of the future and the bleak chances of it ameliorating anytime soon are making it worse. In order to avoid letting our feelings overpower us during these tough times, we try to avoid them. And that’s where we go wrong. We bottle up all those emotions and feelings, only for them to come out in the form of an emotional meltdown later on.

A couple of months back, I had attended a session on dealing with emotions in SP College. The takeaways from that small session helped me address this issue and I reckon it could help others as well. We tend to keep away from emotions such as frustration, anger, sadness, loneliness, confusion, envy, fear, etc; considering them to be bad or negative. However, this is where the problem lies. We need to change our perspective regarding them. These kinds of emotions are not bad or negative in any way, and you shouldn’t be ashamed for feeling them. These emotions are just unpleasant or uncomfortable, because of the way they make you feel.

Emotions are colours to what we feel. Since these emotions are dull, we steer away from them. We do anything possible to not let our mind’s canvas be painted by sombre sentiments. For this, we resort to binge-watching or gaming for hours together; we feel that eating our favourite dish or a cup of our favourite ice-cream or just sleeping will make things better; we do everything but what is actually needed – sitting down, taking a deep breath and making ourselves aware of what exactly we are going through. After all, it’s about awareness, not avoidance.

“The most valuable commodity in times of crisis is clarity.”

Capt Raghu Raman

It is essential to be aware of what we’re feeling and then paying heed to it. It is the most important step and the most difficult one as well. We sometimes run away from such emotions by thinking “why am I feeling this way?” or “I shouldn’t be feeling this way.” But remember, address the ‘what’ first and then the ‘whys’. First be aware of what colours are being painted in your mind and heart; and accept them, and more importantly accept yourself for painting them. Don’t run away from them. Once you are aware of them, it will be a great degree easier to answer the ‘whys’. And once those ‘whys’ are answered, you will definitely have an idea as to how to deal with them.

So here’s what you can do in such situations. Pen down what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way. Then think of the possible ways in which you can address and overcome them. I personally sat down and thought of all the things that I can do if things don’t go as I had them planned. Trust me, once you get down to do it, you will certainly find feasible solutions to resolve your issues. I could do it, and so can you. Just remember to take a few deep breaths and not be harsh on yourself. It’s not as difficult as you think. And it’s definitely much better than living in the bubble of avoidance.

Khushi Goyal