Many people, especially in our desi community, grow up with low self-esteem, and low self-worth. Why? Is the tough love from our parents too hard to handle? Is it the way we are judged by our skin color? Or does it have to do with our own vision of ourselves?
Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked yourself, “Why am I so dark?” “Why am I so tall?” “Why am I so short?” Or said, “Nothing covers my rolls except for my salwar kameez!”
The truth is, every desi girl has thought about her flaws, at least at one point in her lives. I’m going to let you in on a little secret, no matter your skin color is or what size you wear, nothing can change the way you feel about yourself. No amount of make-up, boyfriends, or flattery can make you feel more beautiful than acknowledging your inner beauty yourself.
It’s all about self-esteem and self-worth. How do you view yourself? Have you ever asked yourself if you’re good enough for someone else? Or if you’re worth it? How can you be good enough for someone else, if you don’t believe you are good enough for yourself? Having self-worth and confidence is needed before you can share yourself with someone else; not just in a romantic way, but also in a friendship.
The reason it’s important to realize your inner beauty and inner self-worth is because, once you accept the fact that you are a beautiful person, inside and out, you’ll gain this confidence and motivation to conquer the world (or whatever it is that you desire).
Even though I grew up in a Punjabi household where I was constantly being compared to my friends, siblings, cousins and their cousins, I wanted to just become the best version of me. It’s common in desi households to hear our parents talk good about other children, but at times, they forget to praise us. That’s their unique way of loving and pushing us.
I was trying to push towards my dreams, but I was constantly bombarded by my uncles and aunties who would say the only “good profession” that would guarantee a “great life” is becoming a doctor. In fact, since I am the middle child of two siblings, my dad always said he was counting on me to become the doctor of the family. It was his dream.
Since I lacked confidence and self-worth, I went to college as a pre-med major. I took all the classes needed in order to apply for med school. I was forcing myself to dream a dream that wasn’t mine. Don’t get me wrong, making my dad’s dream come true, and having him be proud of me, is all I ever wanted to do, however, at the same time, I knew in my heart, I didn’t want to be a doctor. My passion was helping people, but not through medicine.
It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college, that I fell in love with my psychology class and the idea of helping others through my words. I loved how complex the mind was. I changed majors, behind my parents back. Only after I graduated, I muttered up the courage to tell my parents that I would still be a doctor, just not a medical doctor. I would one day (still in the process of accomplishing this dream) be Priya Tahim, PhD; instead of Priya Tahim, M.D.
Through the years, I learned that I did not need to settle for other people’s perceptions of what I should or should not be. I realized, I too have the ability to be whoever I want to be.
What does my story have to do with self-worth and self-esteem? If I never realized my passion, my self-worth and my dreams, I would be sitting in some medical school classroom, feeling miserable. I followed my dreams, I followed my passion and now, I could not be happier. I talk to people for a living. I get paid to help other’s accomplish their dreams.
Since I’m living my dreams out, it helps me in my personal life too. I am badass at what I do. When it comes to settling down, I want a partner who will support my dreams and challenge me to be a better version of myself. I know that I want to continue to challenge myself to move forward. I know I want to compare myself to a version of myself from yesterday, and not my cousins or friends. I don’t need the approval of anyone else, but my own.
You are in charge of your own happiness. You are in charge of what you deserve. You are the only person that can make your dreams come true. Go out and live your life for you. Life is short and nothing is guaranteed. Be smart, hip and beautiful.