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Being a regular girl from a middle class Indian family, I was always taught that it is important to make sure that I learn how to maintain relationships and keep those around me happy.
Well, honestly, I did that for most of my life.
I am 36 now, and even though I won’t say I am worldly wise or very mature and adept at handling people, I have at least learned a few very important things. And one of the first and most important gyaan that I have learnt after being hurt over and over again is that it is not important to please everyone around you. What is important is to make yourself happy first!!!
Don’t think I am being selfish here. I have enough instances to prove that what I am saying makes sense, in a good way.
One of the first instances I remembered was when I would visit some of my relatives, and the aunties there used to ask me to manage their babies, even as they would sit and watch television, or just gossip with the other aunties. My mother, being the very polite lady that she is, never told me to refuse.
In fact, she said that it was a way of helping out the mom as she could get a break. But in the bargain, I was losing out a good chunk of my vacation time, just taking care of babies, who were not even playing with me!
The second instance I remember is while I was in my higher years in school, and there was this one friend who would always ask me to copy out all the notes for her. Apparently, her mom would make her help out a little too often in the kitchen, and she was always missing out on her notes.
As a good friend, I never refused and always helped, even if it meant almost double the work that I should have been doing.
Not fair again!
When I joined office, there was this typical uncle who would ask me to help out with this and that work, even though it was not part of my profile.
The uncle would spend hours on the phone, talking to his wife, speaking to others and whatnot. And there I was, apparently ‘helping’ him out.
As I grew older, there were many demands made of me by the person I loved, his family and so on, and as the typical Indian girl and woman, who was now turning into a typical Indian wife and bahu, I would agree to it all. Whether it meant giving up the career I was aspiring for and settling for something else that they preferred and that would give me more time in the kitchen making roti sabzi.
Whether it was giving up my comfortable jeans and my beautiful tops and dressing up in gaudy clothes that I would never in my life have otherwise been seen in, touching the feet of absolutely anyone and everyone without knowing who is who, giving up my social circle as it contained boys, stopping my partying as it did not look good for an Indian woman to be out of the house after dark with others….and the list is never ending.
After I became a mother, I did many things that would please these others, such as allowing someone to apply kajal on my baby’s eyes, wearing ornaments that I did not love, breastfeeding in a room full of unknown women who wouldn’t stop staring, getting out of bed soon after a C-section to do the bahu duties and whatnot.
I did it all, never answered back, never said one harsh word and never put my foot down. Maybe that was my mistake, that in an attempt to be nice and pleasing to everyone around, I didn’t stop this mentality right then.
Today, at 36, I have finally started speaking my mind. The changes are very visible. People around me have stopped messing around with me. Of course, our Indian society remains partial and biased with its behaviour towards its girls, but I am proud to say that I am raising two very confident and aware girls, who know the difference between being nice and kind human beings and being taken for granted.
If you have also faced any of these moments where you remained nice towards others even if it was unfair to you, or if you are teaching your daughters how to be strong and independent individuals, do tell me about it 🙂
Also Read: 42 things people in happy marriages should NEVER do
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Mum to two naughty little girls, Debolina is a wanderer at heart. She loves writing about lifestyle, parenting, health, wellness, beauty and care, as well as dabble in poetry. Her words can be found on her blogs, as well as a host of different websites and publications.
She also loves interacting on social media, taking off on sudden trips on the road, reading, photography and music. Favourite pastime? Goofing with her little girls!
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