Falling in love with her true self

Falling in love with her true self

Read on about the journey of a cheerful mother and content creator who battled low self esteem, depression, sucidal thoughts and more to find self love

Shweta Tanwar Mukherjee

As I reflect on my teenage years, I am reminded of a time that was anything but happy and positive. I struggled with my  weight, acne, and fear of facing society. My self-esteem was at an all-time low, and I even had suicidal thoughts because I felt ugly and unworthy.

However, my parents played a crucial role in motivating me and instilling self-awareness. Despite their unwavering support, I found it hard to believe in myself and see my own worth. But little did I know that my journey would take an unexpected turn and lead me to a path of self-discovery, self-validation, and contentment. 

My parents, especially my father, always remained positive, even though he was out of work for a brief while. He taught me to look forward to life and never give up. My mother, who ran a beauty salon, encouraged me to read, study, and break free from beauty stereotypes. However, the pressure to conform to society’s standards of beauty took a toll on my self-esteem. I developed severe acne due to hormonal changes caused by stress and studies, which further shattered my confidence. I started taking unnecessary leaves from school, avoided meeting relatives, and lost all my confidence.

Words matter, choose them wisely

I  had to endure the comments and criticisms of others, especially the aunties in my community. Their words hurt  like a thousand bee stings, as they made snide remarks about my skin, and offered unsolicited advice that only made me feel worse. They suggested I wash my face with every soap and solution under the sun. Yes even  ‘Rin’! They also recommended extreme diet changes in the hopes of curing my acne.

As if the aunties weren’t enough, I also had to deal with a doctor who seemed more concerned with whether or not I had tried to harm myself than with actually treating my acne. He asked me invasive and insensitive questions like if I had phenol or tried to attempt suicide, making me feel like a burden rather than a patient in need of help.

All of these experiences left me feeling isolated and alone, like no one understood the pain and frustration I was going through. Every morning, I would wake up with dread, fearing to see a new pimple on my face. I avoided looking into anyone’s eyes and withdrew into my own shell. The commercials and advertisements about beauty added to my insecurities, making me wonder if I would ever be accepted and loved with my flawed skin. I dreamt of having clear skin and worried about my appearance in my future marriage.

As I grew older, the stress of work and studies increased, and I started experiencing health issues. It was then that I discovered that I had PCOS, a lifestyle disorder, which was aggravated by the stress I had been carrying since my teenage years. I realised that I had been constantly seeking external validation and neglecting my inner well-being.

But amidst the darkness, there was a glimmer of hope. My family never gave up on me. They continued to shower me with love and support, urging me to seek help and not give up on life. My friends were by my side who would positively say that the acne on my face actually enhanced my beauty, which would often lift my spirits.

In fact when I first met my husband, I was nervous. But to my surprise, he didn’t seem to care about any of that. He looked beyond society’s narrow definition of beauty and saw me for who I truly was.

His unwavering support and acceptance gave me a new found confidence. No longer did I feel like I had to conform to society’s expectations of what a woman should look like. Instead, I could be myself and accepted for exactly who I was. In a world that can be so judgmental and critical, having someone who sees past all of that is truly a gift. My husband’s ability to look beyond my external appearance and see the person I am inside has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.

A new life

 A  key turning point in my journey was when I was pregnant. I knew that it was imperative to embody positivity, happiness, and health for my unborn child. I felt compelled to strive for the best version of myself, recognising that my thoughts and actions would directly impact my baby’s well-being.

This realisation sparked a significant transformation in my life. I began tending to my physical and emotional health, as well as my home and surroundings, resulting in a profound shift in my outlook.

Holding my newborn in my arms, I realised that I had the responsibility to instil self-confidence and positive self-esteem in my child. I wanted to be a positive role model and teach my child to embrace their uniqueness and love themselves unconditionally. This realisation pushed me to work harder on my self-compassion and become a cheerful and positive mommy.

Gradually, I became aware of my child’s individual personality, which motivated me to model positive behaviour and communication. As we navigated the ups and downs of parenthood, I continued to learn from my child, who has consistently challenged me to improve and grow as a person.

It took immense courage, but I finally decided to open up about my struggles and seek professional help. I started reading, took help of a professional gynaecologist and discovered different healthy coping mechanisms to deal with my negative thoughts and emotions.

The journey towards healing was not easy, and there were moments of setbacks, but I was determined to overcome my challenges. I learned to challenge the standard conventions of beauty and embrace my unique features, including my acne scars.

Small steps matter

It all began with changing my diet, taking care of my physical health, and seeking professional help. I learned to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about myself. It was not easy, and there were setbacks along the way, but I was determined to overcome my self-esteem issues and build a positive and fulfilling life.

One of the first steps I took was to embrace my imperfections and flaws. I realised that my worth was not determined by my appearance or societal standards of beauty. I learned to love and accept myself as I am, with all my flaws and imperfections. I stopped hiding behind my hair or makeup and started to embrace my natural self.

I also learned the importance of self-care and self-compassion. I started taking care of my physical and mental health by eating nutritious food, exercising regularly, and practicing mindfulness and meditation. I surrounded myself with positive influences and let go of toxic relationships and negative self-talk.

Along with taking care of my physical health, I also focussed on my mental well-being. I read different motivational books, which helped me work through my self-empowerment issues and negative thought patterns. I learned to challenge and reframe my negative beliefs about myself and develop a positive and empowering mindset.

As I started to practice self-love and self-care, I noticed positive changes in my life. My skin improved, and my health issues began to resolve. But more importantly, I started to feel happier and more content from within. I no longer sought external validation for my worth and happiness, and I learned to derive my self-worth from within.

During the journey I also discovered my passion for content creation. I found joy in expressing myself through various forms of creative outlets, such as writing, photography, and art. Creating content allowed me to share my story, connect with others who had similar experiences, and inspire them to embrace self-appreciation and overcome their self-acceptance issues.

Through content creation, I found a supportive community of like-minded individuals who encouraged and uplifted each other. I realised that I was not alone in my struggles with self-esteem, and that many people, regardless of age or background, faced similar challenges. This realisation fuelled my determination to continue my journey of self-love and inspire others to do the same.

Today, I am proud to say that I have come a long way from the teenager with suicidal thoughts and low self-confidence. I have learnt to embrace my uniqueness, love myself unconditionally, and celebrate my flaws.