- Selfishness is not the same as self love. While it is great to be able to embrace yourself for being the wonderful human that you are, there’s a very fine line between putting yourself first when you deserve it, and being downright nasty to others under the guise of loving yourself. Manipulating situations and people to suit yourself is selfishness. Self love on the other means choosing yourself, but never at the cost of hurting someone else.
Self depreciation is not the same as modesty. When you know you’re good at something but make a conscious effort not to toot your own horn, you’re modest. That’s the kind of humbleness that is appreciated. Having said that though, constantly (and loudly) putting yourself down for something you’re obviously good at does NOT qualify as modesty. It’s just a roundabout way to fish for compliments, and eventually people will tire of assuring you that you are, indeed, good.
- Pointing out character flaws about someone doesn’t take away their positives. And vice versa. A discussion with my mother about a post on Humans of New York led me to this conclusion. In the post, a young man explained how he hates moral absolutism – in a nutshell, good people do bad things sometimes, and bad people do good things. And that’s okay, it is what makes them human. People are an eclectic mix of a million shades of gray, everyone makes mistakes and everyone gets chances to fix those mistakes; in the meantime, moral policing is not your job, being open and accepting is.
You don’t always need to like someone in order to respect them. This one is a no-brainer. How many of us really liked that mean art teacher who told us our painstakingly painted pictures needed to be redone if we wanted a good grade? Of course, we respected her because she knew what she was talking about, but we wouldn’t ever admit to that openly. As adults, the habit persists. We tend to sideline the people we dislike, never giving them the credit that is due. It’s a nasty habit that needs to be broken, because what they say is true – in order to be respected, you have to extend that courtesy to others first, and that includes the people from whom you don’t stand to gain anything too.
- It is okay not to be at peace with yourself all the time. While being comfortable in your own skin is great, sometimes if you feel like you’re falling short somewhere, use that as incentive to better yourself. Pressure keeps us on our toes, and getting too comfortable leads to complacency which in turn leads to stagnation at times. As long as there are no negative implications, pushing yourself just a little can actually help you grow. All that needs to be taken care of is figuring out where to draw the line – starving yourself for what you perceive as the perfect body is not okay, but realizing it is a long term goal and working towards it through moderation and exercise is.
The only person you owe anything to, is yourself. Identity can be messy and complicated as it is, and bogged down by societal standards of what is deemed as adequate or correct, finding yourself can be even more difficult. The struggle to discover who you are is pretty much lifelong, unless you’re lucky enough to understand that you don’t need labels. You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone else. You don’t have to be anyone else’s definition of perfect. As long as you’re okay with the trajectory you’re following, everything will be alright. And no one else can tell you otherwise.
Tanvi Deshmukh is a nineteen year old girl from Pune, India, with an affinity for words and books, cats and coffee,Nepalese food and hippie music, and the colour green (along with Oxford commas). Currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in English, she loves poetry, volunteers at an NGO and plays the keyboard in her free time. Along with devouring books of all kinds, unless of course, she’s in the middle of heated discussions on feminism, patriarchy, gay rights, or what to name the neighbour’s new dog.