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How Does One Tackle The Delusion That Perfection Is? Yes, Self Love!

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Have you ever had the feeling that you don’t seem to be doing good enough? I hear you, and it’s completely okay to feel that way because that’s how our mind works.

A lot of problems in our society have arisen because we have been taught to be perfect while growing up.

We all tend to think we are not good enough, but here’s the thing—we’re not, and no one is. And no one can ever be. In fact, even the most profound celebrity you watch on television isn’t perfect. That’s why I say that the word “perfection” is just overrated. 

If somebody claims to be the “most perfect person,” then trust me that person is not only setting unrealistic and destructive standards for themselves, but also for those around them.

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a dear friend of mine regarding the pressure to be perfect or to be the best.

From a very young age, we’ve been trying our best to be perfect. We become people-pleasers, for example, participating in the battle to be the favourite student or the favourite child. Haven’t we all done it? Instead of respecting and loving ourselves, we tend to become the person we don’t imagine ourselves to be. Don’t we become the type of person that we don’t know who the hell we are? 

Perfection seems to be everywhere we go or look; we see perfect people, perfect talk, perfect clothes, perfect life, perfect career, perfect partner, and perfect attitude.

There is always a constant pressure to be perfect in anything or everything we do because we’re surrounded by “perfection.” But you know what? All that is crap! 

We should be quite aware by now that with the ever-growing presence of social media, there is, and will always be, a silent competition on who posts what? Who’s able to attract more reactions or followers with their posts? Those attractive posts can be of people’s perfect dates, lavish holidaying, high-brand shopping, “my perfect life” moment (which I am pretty certain isn’t), etc.

Do you know what the problem is: we’re bloody humans, and we can’t be perfect. Try harder, but I bet you can’t. It is a completely unattainable goal that’s only going to lead to nothing but disappointment. 

Today’s generation wants to copy what the other person is doing. Every girl wants to look like Kim Kardashian or Kylie Jenner. Why can’t we just be original? 

Love Who You Are, And See How It All Begins To Change

Remember everything changes the instant you begin to accept yourself. You’re not born to please anyone. Don’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

A tile saying "love your self".
You’re not born to please anyone. Don’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm. Photo credits: Flickr/DonnaHollywood

Now, I am not saying that I had never strived for perfection. I had and even now, somehow, I still try to. I feel like over the years I was so insecure about everything, and mostly about myself that it started affecting my mental health. Five years back, I was a cheerful and bubbly girl who liked socialising. I wasn’t scared of anything, I was a daredevil.

I was referred to as the smartest kid and beauty with brain. Learning all these things about myself helped me build confidence to achieve more and be praised more. And that’s how I started to make sure that whatever decision or action I do should be perfect.

But little did I know that this word made up of seven letters ‘Perfect’ is going to eat me from within. The girl who had no issue being around crowds or to be on stage and deliver a speech, slowly began to have panic and anxiety attacks. And I won’t lie, I am still going through mental problems, but I am very thankful to some people who have loved me and who were there with me when I was in my worst phase.

I’ve found that if we’re too immersed in our quest for perfection, we will only end up disappointed and unsatisfied all our lives. Let me just take one example now:

You see a very pretty looking girl on the street with perfect hair colour and hairstyle. Now you wonder, why can’t I have that perfect hair. You make an appointment for a salon. You go there the next day, get a new colour and haircut. The stylist gives you the mirror to have one final look, but guess what? It turns out you look like Princess Fiona.

Now you are disappointed and sad about wasting so much money for that look that you saw on the street yesterday. What have you achieved? Nothing.

Apparently, a lot of problems in our society have arisen because we have been taught to be perfect while growing up. The pressure to have a perfect job; the pressure to get married; the pressure to be flawless.

Below are some tactics that I have learnt to tackle perfectionist behaviour:

Having ‘Me-Time’

It has definitely resulted in a lot of changes within myself. I understand a lot of people find it boring and depressing, they think that having some “me” time is all about chilling, watching Netflix and surfing through the Internet. But for me, it is quite the opposite. As a working professional, I don’t usually get time for myself. Most of the time I am either at work or caught up with my personal chores. And that’s the reason I appreciate my alone time.

I try to find and question myself. I ask myself about what I have achieved over the past few days? I meditate and most importantly I explore cafes around the city. All those alone times have made me realize that I don’t always need a company or another person to add meaning to my existence. Blocking out everyday distractions have led me to greater insights into my inner world and always made me deeply and genuinely happy.

Reading Books

Image for representation only.

Books have always been my best friends. If I’ll ever be given a choice to choose between a handbag and books, I would always choose books. They have played a significant role in my life. It has become a key that has opened the door to many good and positive things in my life.

Books just take me to another world where I don’t have to worry about other people’s opinion. So, I recommend you guys to read because there is no friend as loyal as a book.

Journaling

I started journaling when I was in the lowest point of my life and from that day onwards it has become a habit that became an integral part of my life. Writing a few words daily, though it may be on a piece of paper or the app that I have installed in my smartphone, has kept me calm and a chance to get to know me better about what really makes me happy and confident.

Some days when I am all jumbled up from the inside, I take some time to jot down my thoughts and emotions and guess what?

It has helped me to communicate with my inner world.

A Positive Relationship

It is the greatest measure of long-term happiness. I have come to realize it and that’s the reason I can’t tolerate the pessimistic people around me. Throughout my career and life, I’ve come across all sorts of negative influencers. These people are so twisted that they only focus on people’s bad things. These are the sort of people who roll their eyes and can’t stand when other people are happy, which is extremely wrong!

So, if you are one of those negative people, I’m telling you to stop doing it. Positivity is really necessary and that’s why I have only positive people around me who cherish and appreciate the best of me. The world we live in is quite a dark, cruel and lonely place, so only hang out with people who celebrate who you are.

Let me tell you guys about the story of a well-known brand in India and how they are playing with the mind of young Indian women by portraying that having brown skin is unacceptable while having fair skin is praiseworthy in the society.

India’s Obsession With Perfection-Fair Skin Cosmetics

It’s unquestionable that fair skin is considered as an asset and dark skin as taboo in India.

Growing up in India, I always found my mother putting cream on her face from a glossy pink packaging, which was popularly known as “Fair & Lovely,” a skin whitening cream sold by Unilever in many Asian and African countries, particularly in India.

It is indeed doing well; it’s a brand that’s stable. It is, however, not doing well, and I want to demonstrate its negative implications for public welfare. At first, I couldn’t fathom the reason for putting the cream as it claims to offer dramatic whitening results in six weeks.

Then I saw the ad for the cream, where it displays one face six times, in an ever-whitening progression, and contains ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of a woman who used the product. I was baffled by the ad. There is no denying that having fairer skin is aspirational for many Indian women.

It’s unquestionable that fair skin is considered as an asset and dark skin as taboo in India. For years, our society neglected women with dark skin. They have faced problems when it comes to finding jobs, getting married and being accepted by society in general.

Yet, I don’t think that an advertisement should express any sort of bigotry due to skin colour and I firmly condemn whatever message the brand is seeking to deliver. I’ve heard horrifying stories of girls, during my high school time, who deliberately applied or injected themselves with unregulated chemicals to attain a fairer skin.

It’s just not Fair & Lovely that has made racists advertisements. Another recent controversial ad is by Clean & Dry where the product emphasises how bleaching your genitalia will make your husband love you more, which is absolute bullshit.

Don’t let someone bring you down. You are your own masterpiece, enchanting beauty and an extraordinary work of God!

You must be to comment.
  1. vipul suryavanshi

    Thanks for the beautiful posts. Very useful article and I loved how you touched every point on perfectionism!

    1. kasumi takam

      Thank you so much dear for your kind words!

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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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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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