My Latest Article for Women published on http://www.sheroes.com on 2nd August, 2016
Recently, I was delivering a session for research scholars at an IIT, and I was happy to see that around 25% of attendees were women. After the session, we were informally discussing the priorities of life. To remain hopeful is a challenge, said one of the girls.
It had me thinking about what women should aim for.
As mentioned in my book Why women are what they are, I believe women lead two lives–an internal ‘dream life’ and an external visible life. They do things more out of expectation and not out of intention.
There are women who act according to family norms, social etiquette and worry about how others will perceive them. There are women who solitarily nurture their inner self and do not bother about people, society, and norms whatsoever. There are women who are aware of both lives and they balance them both, gradually converging the internal and external lives.
Since women are mentally and emotionally far stronger than men, they tend to ignore their mental and emotional well-being. In societies and communities of India, men are expected to give financial support while women are expected to provide all the other support. With a lot of stereotypes biting the dust in this digital age, we need to reaffirm and reset our priorities.
Besides money required for sustaining ourselves, women must take care of our happiness, health and hope:
Most women concentrate on taking care of their families, their homes and neglect themselves. The are so consumed–in maintaining a perfect home, looking after their spouse and kids, balancing jobs, elder care–that they are too tired to look within. They suffer from a burnout as they do things to fulfil expectations; not because they want to.
Women remain unhappy as they allow others to take over. They believe in the image of themselves as created by their near and dear (?) ones, which could be strikingly different from their real selves.
In Rajasthan, I would come across many women who thrived on adventure, loved to experiment but lived a conservative, orthodox life stagnating in a time warp. Women remain unhappy when they ruminate. They keep going back to painful memories of the past and keep rewinding them for daily consumption. It keeps the pain alive.
As they start enjoying their emotionally drained status, women start enjoying unhappiness. It is not only unfair; it is illogical too. Women must work towards forgetting the pain inflicted in any form and start living happily in the present. We need to choose to stay happy.
Women ignore their health because they are deeply engrossed in making each day a perfect day for their families. They keep postponing the regular check-ups and they keep thinking that diseases happen to others. It is hard to detect depressed women as they don’t admit to their mental agony or issues that they can’t sort out on their own.
Women should remember that ‘tomorrow is a disease’ when it comes to exercising and health check-ups. Today is the time to begin, and it should be adhered to every year.
Women need to be aware of their family history and diseases that they are predisposed to. Neglecting health is one of the biggest disservices that women can do to themselves, because men are always taken care of when it comes to health.
There is no age to start taking care of your health. It is our daily duty towards ourselves to eat healthy, on time and to exercise.
Women get disappointed more, because they are deeply connected to the lives of so many family members–parents, husband, kids, siblings–and something keeps going wrong somewhere all the time.
It is so important for women to keep their spirits high and help others stay hopeful. A friend of mine recently had her nephew hospitalised with a kidney ailment. At the same time, her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. As she was busy helping her mother and brother, she felt guilty of not looking after her teenage daughter well. It lasted more than a year and she felt so low on hope.
Women need their daily dose of hope to sail through myriad responsibilities they eagerly shoulder. Friends, audiobooks and books can be the greatest disappointment-buster for women. Talking to friends and asking for help gives strength and stamina to march on.
Search for HOPE, strive for HAPPINESS and work towards your HEALTH before thinking about the next task.