Be Your Own Valentine Till The Time You Meet Your Soulmate

Hello Guys!

This is that time of the year when those who’re new in a relationship feel that they are on cloud nine. And those who haven’t embarked on the roller coaster ride yet, wish that you had that special person to care for you for the rest of your lives. As you watch couples cosying up in a corner ⁠— fighting for a little personal space in the crowd, men going down on their knees with red roses in their hands, or girls giggling relentlessly like they have just swallowed the magic potion for eternal happiness ⁠— you too wish you had a steady boyfriend/girlfriend. And some of you have even tasted the bitter potion ⁠— of being left in the lurch by your unfaithful partner, still battling with yourselves to come to terms with the situation.

You’ve always known about expressing your feelings to the person you love. Hiding your feelings for someone, or secretly loving someone are passe. Holding on to unrequited love is an old and discontinued trait in today’s age that demands self-respect and financial independence.

But today, I will tell you to do exactly the opposite. If you ask me, I’ll ask you to not express your feelings. Yes, you heard it right. Why? If you do express your feelings, the other person may/may not reciprocate the same feelings. If you’re openly rejected, it might take a toll on your emotional health, at the very least (particularly if the rejections take place multiple times), or you might grow out of it and move on, more experienced in life. You would be advised to take rejection sportingly by the relationship coaches and those eyebrow-raising high achievers whom you’ve chosen as your role models.

“Love is a verb, not an adjective.”

But they are right when they say you have every right to be happy. Please try to understand that even with all the love in the world, a relationship can’t be kept going for long if the partners aren’t meant for each other. There’s always an element of uncertainty beyond our control, which people call destiny. However, whether someone accepts/rejects your love outright, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve told the truth.

There are various reasons for lying in romantic relationships, just like in any other relationship. Human beings are complex in their thoughts and actions. Each person lives many lives in one ⁠— one life that their parents expect them to live, another that their office boss wants them to live, while still another that they believe they should be living. Coordinating so many lives at the same time brings together conflicting egos, as a result of which relationships suffer.

But true love has nothing to do with typical relationships. The later’s success depends on the skills used by people to satisfy the egos of their partners. This is because in true love, a person sees their partner as a reflection of themselves, rather than another whom they’d want to possess, hold on to, and change according to their wishes. Since human beings love themselves the most, above everything else in the world, it is but natural for them to love their partners unconditionally when they’re their true love.

Now, the billion dollar question is: How to find your real valentine? A person may never fully understand their partner even after staying together for their entire life, and there is certainly an element of luck involved in finding our other half among the millions of people we come across in our lives. Yet, I believe in the connection between the hearts. I know I sound old-fashioned and flowery, but waiting in silence and listening to one’s heartbeat being reverberated in every small action that the other person takes, is the only way of knowing whether they have a soft corner for you. If there is a genuine connection, you’ll definitely see the sparks, no matter how small the spark is. And if you don’t ever find that person in your life, or the person you love doesn’t love you back, don’t regret, don’t despise yourself. Keep the fire burning in your heart. Respect your feelings and keep nurturing them slowly.

Till you can find that person who is your reflection and whom you can love without any expectations, love yourself and be your own valentine.

 

Unlike the give-and-take relationships, true love believes only in giving. Today’s young adults need to understand this. True love is not something that can be played strategically and won. And even if one does win, remember that love is a verb, not an adjective. It’s a continuous action. You have to keep caring, being there for that person for your entire life. The person will find out if you’re imitating your feelings as soon as both of you start living under the same roof. So, if you really love someone, love them without any expectations, or never let that person know about your feelings for that reason.

All this will sound bookish, impractical, foolish…  You’ve had a taste of intelligently-matched relationships ⁠— the various dating sites match you based on your preference for food, dresses, music, movies, traveling etc, or your choice of relationships (whether it is one-night stands, open relationships or friends with benefits that you’re looking for) or matching based on qualifications and work experience ⁠(full time, part time or contractual), or even the food you order online (viz. tiffins, starters or full meal course). And I hope you’ll be honest to admit that the frequent break-ups and moving-on-to-new-relationships part has not been very pleasant on you. But if you wish for more meaningful and long-lasting (if not ever-lasting) relationships, then why not give this kind of love a try?

With this kind of love, there will be no tension of guessing your partner’s mood rightly, or to live up to their expectations, please their families unreasonably, and despite all these, live under the continuous anxiety of losing them. When you love your replica, you love them the best without having to worry about the future of your relationship, because you know yourself the best. So, till you find that person in your life, be your own valentine.

Happy Romancing !

Featured image provided by the author. 

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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