Break The silence: Love yourself, you can't live to please the society - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Break The silence: Love yourself, you can't live to please the society

India is a country where social norms dictate family matters. We are driven by the thought "What Society Thinks" or "What People Say". We often force ourselves and our family members to give up their options, change their decisions just because it is not aligned with what has been going on so far. It is high time we break the silence and learn to love ourselves first and live our life. There is no point sacrificing personal preferences and options just because other people may raise an eyebrow.

I would like to give some examples:

1. Pressure for Good News. Every single Indian couple face extreme pressure from family, relatives and general public to have a baby. They are constantly tortured asking "Any good news" and regularly reminded that they are growing older. But the dynamics of a family has changed a lot in past 60 years. A fair majority of couples do not really fancy raising a child, spend crores of rupees over 20-25 years time frame raising the child with a hope that all goes well with the child's health, education, career and he/she will take care of the parents in their old age. To lot of people it is a big, expensive, unnecessary gamble that costs them their precious years, money and without any guarantee on end result. Save the money and spend on yourself in your old age if you wish to. With rising pollution, unemployment and other uncertainties, slogging 20 years to give another tax payer to the country with one's post tax income may not be an appealing proposition to many couples. Society, relatives and in-laws should live the decision to the couple and stop the emotional drama and torture. Unlike any other purchase/commitment/investment, there's no back out option once a child is born. Parents need to constantly spend time, money, effort on child's growth and well being for decades. If young couples do not see a point in all these, let them be. If people around you are resorting to emotional blackmail, then break the silence, give them direct, befitting reply not to ask you about your personal life.

2. It is OK to take a break in career. We are tuned to keep working till retirement. Our parents say 7th std is important, then 10th is important, 12th is important, degree is important, job is important, wedding is important, buying home is important. There is no provision in our social norms that says "OK, take a break and do what you love". Thousands of youngsters aspire to try their hand in music, dance, art, travel, business or a dozen other passion fields that may not give lots of money. But at no point our social norms give a person the freedom to pursue their passion. Those who get a job are immediately burdened with marriage, home loan and other commitments that discourages them from breaking free. This results in suffocation for many and makes them compromise with their own dreams. This may lead to depression, failed marriages or suicides. We need to give people a few years break to let them do what they love doing- and this needs to happen between the age of 25-45 - when an individual has good health, energy and some money. If you are being restricted from pursuing your passions, be brave, break the silence. You have to live your life to your satisfaction. Society can wait.

3. Do not ignore domestic violence and abuse: We witness several domestic violence and abuse in our locality, among neighbors. Under-aged children are made to work, girls are made to skip school, drunk man beating family member, a woman wanting to separate from her husband but unable to and many more. We often turn a blind eye thinking it is someone else's family matter. In most cases victims will not have the access/means or knowledge on where to report the crimes done against them or how to break free. If you see such crimes  break the silence, report to police or NGOs who can legally intervene and rescue. 

4. Harassment at work: Harassment at work is very subtle and often hard to prove. People with power and influence often getaway due to lack of evidence. There are also instances of genuine people are blackmailed under the threat of harassment cases. If you see signs of such act in your workplace, break the silence. Collect evidence first, encourage others to speak up and raise a strong collective concern that is hard to suppress or ignore.

 #BreakTheSilence with Fertility Dost, India’s trusted platform for managing fertility health. Post written as entry for #FertilityDostContest


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