Fall Madly In Love With Yourself

December 12, 2018 [Sarina Jain]

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“Don't forget to fall in love with yourself first.” - Carrie Bradshaw

So I was embarrassed to be Indian while growing up. This was short lived.

Growing up, I was questioned a lot, especially when going to school. My classmates would ask questions about my culture. They’d ask about the Indian red dot (bindi) and why we worshipped cows. I was happy to answer questions but always felt like I was being judged because I didn’t talk a certain way or because of my race. But my family taught me to never be ashamed to be an Indian American woman.

I was born and raised in the US to two Indian parents that migrated to the States in the 70s. My parents wanted to make sure that my sister and I would grow up with the best of what the west has to offer without forgetting the east. My dad sent us to India every summer to spend time with our families and learn to appreciate what the Indian culture is all about.

It was through these experiences and going to India in the summers that helped me put things in perspective. Everyone goes through their own personal journey when it comes to self-love and self-discovery. For some, it takes years to actually look in the mirror and love exactly who they are and for others, it's a lot easier to love themselves and accept themselves regardless of size, marital status, or career status.

For me, being surrounded by my culture was what helped me discover my truth. It was because I spent summers in India and I had a loving family around me in the states that helped me fall madly in love with myself. I was never ashamed by culture or my skin color. I embraced being an Indian woman wholeheartedly.

It’s no secret that my business is influenced by my culture. My father was my inspiration for creating Masala Bhangra. He always taught me to be proud of my Indian culture. When he passed away from a massive cardiac arrest at the age of 47, I created my business to honor him and to show the world aspects of our culture through fitness.

While it might sound cliche to fall in love with yourself, it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself. When you know who you are and accept yourself regardless of outside opinions, marital status or where you are in your career, I promise you, you’ll also fall in love with yourself.

Indian culture is a big reason for my self-love. Here are some other reasons. I hope they inspire you.

Love The Body You're In 

As a fitness instructor, I've heard it all. Self-criticism is so easy to do but it really devalues yourself. Woman are always looking for the next best thing to drop a few pounds, to look leaner or to fit in a smaller size pair of jeans. And while I'm all for fitness goals and living a healthy lifestyle, I also want you to love the body that you're in regardless of size. So if you're saying negative things about yourself, make sure to watch your language! Repeat after me: I love the body I'm in.

Take Yourself Out On Dates 

I love my family and daughters, but sometimes I need some alone time. A lot of people are afraid to spend time with themselves. They can't imagine going out to a restaurant alone, sitting alone and having a meal alone. But by doing this and practicing solo activities, you’ll learn to be more comfortable in your own skin, enjoy your own company and value your time. So spend an afternoon at your favorite restaurant with a good book (or no book at all!) and don't worry about the people around you. Just focus on you!

Be Kind To Yourself 

Sometimes we are our own worst critics. We judge ourselves harshly and we don't cut ourselves any slack if we do something wrong or make a mistake. We might even call ourselves names. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn't talk to your best friend like that then you shouldn't talk to yourself like that either! Be kind to yourself even if you don't get enough done during the day.

If you make a mistake, don't beat yourself up about it, just learn from it. if you're having a hard day, take a step back and take a break. There were times when I felt discouraged or my business wasn’t going the way I planned. This was an opportunity for me to step back and reevaluate, NOT beat myself up. There were many times I wanted to throw in the towel, but then I would feel like I gave up and that is too easy!

I don't define success through money but through how it makes me feel in creating something that has made a difference for so many people around the world. I also attribute my success to my mom who has supported me through this journey. Through the good times and the bad times, she has been there. And she has always encouraged kindness.

Practice self-love daily. It’s a tool I keep close to my heart and it’s something I’ll be teaching my daughters as they grow up!

Now it’s your turn! How do you practice self-love? Share with me in the comments.

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I have been actively reading your blog post since past few weeks. They are really inspiring. As I read this post, one question that comes to my mind is "how do you create a balance with putting yourself first, husbands and kids?". Of course, there is a personal link to this. I am married to a loving man and have 3 teenage kids - 2 boys and a girl. We make sure that we all spend time together and as a couple. But as I look back, I want to share something really personal here. There was a point in time in the early days of my marriage when in my desire to keep myself first, I started to kind of ignore my husband's likes/ dislikes. I forgot that we were one unit, to the point that I started planning for him. It took me a while to understand this. How are you creating this balance?

Hi Anna, Thanks for your response and honesty. I am going through what you went through. It has been hard to find "me time" esp with two babies in diapers and a husband. I have had to prioritize and ask for help. My mom helps me out alot so I am able to do a few things for myself like take a yoga class, for a manicure or even do some work. For me the balance is in asking my village of people for help.

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