Knowing your self-worth is about knowing when not to settle.
In a society full of stereotypes, standards and expectations, being a strong and confident Desi woman can be challenging.
There are a variety of factors that play a part in impacting someone’s self-confidence.
Negative talk, abusive relationships, childhood trauma, dating and even a diet can be the reasons for a woman’s low self-esteem.
Even though other factors can play a part such as cultural stereotypes, one needs to acknowledge these things in order to move forward.
Once the source of a person’s low self-confidence is accepted, then active changes can be put into place.
A confident Desi woman radiates energy, positivity and self-worth. So, here are some crucial tips to help boost your confidence and get back on track.
Limit Social Media
Perhaps the most important tip to becoming a more confident Desi woman is limiting time on social media.
Whilst it’s a tool to interact with friends and keep up with current events, it’s also flooded with content that can negatively impact you.
One of the main issues is beauty standards. Especially for South Asian women, there are millions of posts regarding what is deemed as ‘beautiful’.
Whilst this is subjective, there are not near enough posts celebrating the beauty of South Asian women.
Therefore, this community deems a western perception of beauty as the most desirable. Which is not the case.
Even skin whitening in the South Asian community has become a big thing.
Major fashion brands will post fairer models making it harder for Desi women to see themselves in the spotlight.
Likewise, there are accounts that boast about their expensive holidays, materialistic possessions and unattainable goals.
This will push women, especially young impressionable ones, into low moods because they look at that as popular and/or ‘success’.
But, limiting your exposure to this will help you to focus more on your own goals. You can also start following more body and skin positivity accounts that complement all women.
Limiting time scrolling through posts and videos will also give you more time to work on what completes you as a person.
Finding happiness and comfort in other things like being with friends and even relaxing by yourself can provide more fulfilment than scrolling endlessly on social media.
Another tip for boosting self-confidence is to take it easy on yourself. It’s very easy to get wrapped into a relentless schedule and overwhelm yourself physically and mentally.
In such a fast-paced world, some people may overcompensate for responsibilities. Especially if drawing comparisons to others who ‘appear’ to be doing a lot.
This can lead to negative thoughts and questioning yourself.
A way to counteract this is to replace pessimistic thoughts with healthy alternatives.
For example instead of thinking “I shouldn’t have done that”, say to yourself “nobody’s perfect, I’m doing my best”.
This simple transition helps alleviate self-inflicted pressures and builds your confidence to be content.
Of course, that’s not to say one cannot be ambitious and work hard, but having compassion for yourself is equally as important.
Even within South Asian culture, a lot of outside noise to do with marriage, careers or life choices has adverse effects.
However, taking charge of this and having compassion for the choices you are making will make a huge difference in becoming a confident Desi woman.
Dress for Yourself
A big factor in helping with confidence is someone’s dress sense.
Again, social media plays a big part in focusing on high fashion brands and wearing certain pieces that are ‘fashionable’.
Therefore, some women try to mimic or dress like others, including celebrities, when this is not healthy at all.
Being stylish is subjective and a person’s style should reflect their personality.
Dressing how you want instead of wearing an outfit you think people will like will help you feel comfortable and happy in your clothes.
It also makes it easier to choose from your wardrobe by feeling positive about all your garments.
Instead of trying to impress others, impress yourself first and people will then see that positive energy beaming off you.
Making things exciting with fashion choices is also proven to work wonders for one’s self-confidence. Apply this to certain functions like weddings and parties.
Instead of wearing a sari, wear something more experimental – as long as it fits with your unique style.
Likewise, see how you can achieve certain looks on a budget. Not only will this save you money but help you feel more accomplished about your outfit.
Challenge Stereotypes and Inner Thoughts
Desi women are constantly barraged with social and cultural stereotypes which has a profound effect on their inner thoughts.
Identifying these beliefs which could have been instilled from an early age is important to building a strong demeanour.
Practising and appreciating your own unique qualities can help in defending your mind from outside perceptions.
For example, a big thing in South Asian culture is getting married at a ‘suitable’ age and sometimes, family members can put women down for getting married older.
But, challenging that can aid your confidence and also establish boundaries with those around you.
By taking charge of these instances, you can embrace yourself as you are and not worry about what others expect of you and rather focus on what you expect from yourself.
A good tip is to journal your own goals and ambitions within your personal life and career.
Journaling helps in pouring out inner thoughts that can hold you back and give you a clearer picture of what to work on.
It’s easy for people to second guess themselves but journaling enables you to see why you’re having those thoughts.
But as well as this, journal the qualities you love about yourself and what progress you have made in different areas of your life.
This will provide a sense of accomplishment and get a feel of what others may appreciate about you.
Getting in touch with the traits that one brings to the table can increase self-esteem and self-appreciation.
Seek a Role Model
A role model can be a source of inspiration for many women to look up to. But, it’s important to find someone that fits the same ideas and traits you possess.
This does not necessarily mean a famous person. It can be a family member, friend or someone having an impact on the things you care about.
These figures can help motivate you and also give some guidance on certain characteristics to have to boost self-confidence.
Likewise, they can inspire one to take up a hobby, challenge themselves physically or provide methods that help boost mental health.
There are many South Asian women making immense changes and serving as terrific role models.
For example, Karenjeet Kaur Bains is a Sikh powerlifter who is opening the door for more South Asian women to take up weight training.
Another is Karishma Leckraz, a makeup artist from Kent who is trying to abolish the deep-rooted stereotypes of skin lightening.
Or, Shivvy Jervis, a tech-savvy businesswoman who is innovating businesses through scientific discoveries.
So, for any area or industry where one may require an extra push or motivator, there are innovators out there to support you in your own journey.
Know Your Worth
When it comes to relationships, career expectations and family, it’s important for women to know their self-worth.
It’s difficult to maintain high self-esteem when certain boundaries are violated or wanting to please others before yourself.
However, slowly moving away from interactions that take up excessive energy and saying “no” to things can work wonders.
This applies to a range of things. When making new friends, ask yourself if they add value to your life or constantly leave you feeling drained.
Or when starting a new relationship, it’s okay to set the bar high and find a partner who meets your needs and ambitions.
Knowing your self-worth is about knowing when not to settle. As Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab states, one should be authentic to themselves:
“The first stage for me has always been acceptance; understanding myself and my needs.”
Even in a cultural setting, if someone questions your career or life choices, you can explain that you’re not settling just because of outdated traditions.
Also, don’t look to others to explain what you are worth, that should already be defined by yourself.
Look After Yourself
The last tip to becoming a more confident Desi woman is to ultimately look after yourself.
Mastering your own mind and body with things like meditation, yoga and quiet walks can help improve your mental health and make you feel less stressed.
Stress is a massive contributing factor to low self-confidence because you lack the energy to work on other areas of your life.
Therefore certain practices and routines can improve a balanced lifestyle.
One key tip is to be comfortable in spending time with yourself which many people try to avoid.
Enjoying your own company works wonders and helps you take pride in your own personality and confidence.
Pampering yourself, going to the gym or having a solo date can help in improving your overall health and interactions with others. The New York Times emphasises this:
“Experts say it can even benefit your social relationships, and improve your creativity and confidence.
“And help you regulate your emotions so that you can better deal with adverse situations.”
On the other hand, looking after yourself is looking after your emotions. If hanging out with friends brings you happiness then do that.
It’s about taking control of your actions. Once this control is established, it builds discipline and gives you a foundation of a structure that no one can break.
These tips can help one build confidence and become a strong woman in all aspects of life.
The skills in each method can be applied to other areas.
Additionally, work on one area at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking every step needs to be done simultaneously.
Take your time and build up the layers of confidence until you reach your full potential.