Self-love has varied expressions and meanings but it is very much inculcated in every human being. We all have our ways to keep the “self” happy. Be it taking good care of the exterior self like getting pampered in a salon, dressing up, travelling to new places or just indulging in a cup of great coffee. Off-late, though, the pandemic has lead many of us to discovering newer dimensions in self-love, and I did too, amidst the “beauty lockdown”.
The beauty salon is a woman’s feel-good haven, catering to her vanity as well as necessity. For all dedicated patrons of salons, the pandemic lockdown has been an irksome period of having been left out without means to deal with bundles of beauty concerns. I am one of them, but little did I know that the seemingly petty concerns could thrust me onto an exciting journey of self-exploration.
Like many other blessed women, I have been a regular at beauty salons ever since coming of age. That exhilarating feeling of having stepped from the teens into adulthood is still fresh in memory, when for the first time messy-looking eyebrows were given a flattering shape; and a world of rejuvenating hair-spas and beauty treatments came alive. The pampering became a way of life and the salon became a reliable friend, mood-shifter and an indispensable necessity.
So, isn’t self-care and grooming a great way of expressing our love for ourselves? Undoubtedly, yes! A well-groomed pleasing persona is a necessity on all professional and social fronts. On the personal front, women owe it to themselves. As a salon loyalist, I would always advocate beauty regimens and grooming. But, if there is a break in our beauty regimens, should that become a cause for disquiet or concern? Now that is something to ponder over. It surely happened to me and lead me to wonder if I was involuntarily identified with my outward persona. Was self-love connected to the way I have been presenting myself to the world?
I decided to delve deep into the meaning of self-love. Self-love as per the ‘Oxford’ dictionary is “regard for one’s own well-being and happiness”. Women have, since times immemorial, been conditioned into deriving a sense of well-being and happiness from maintaining their outer persona. Thus, if they suddenly found themselves without any support for their beauty needs they could feel disgruntled instead of being happy in their ‘real’ skin. But isn’t that being unfair to the umpteen qualities that make up a woman? I found myself staring at this question. Shouldn’t her inner-beauty be the sole definition of her worth?
I chose to tune myself, therefore, to the other myriad aspects of self-love, which had been hungering for my attention since long. Finally, I had the luxury of time and I decided to lap it up. I used my time to read on various subjects of interest, to meditate more regularly, soak up the sunset in my balcony, engage more meaningfully with loved ones, and just immerse in my being. When I dived into the ocean of self-love completely, it was a beautiful feeling as if the whole Universe was responding with unconditional love.
So coming back to the beauty concerns which I couldn’t sort out; I learnt to live with them pretty soon enough. I became generously accepting of my eyebrows, my skin and me, looking little like a ‘mess’, but a ‘loved and fabulous mess’ nonetheless. As expected, my external appearance was hardly a concern for my husband, but instead a cause for amusement for both of us. And my mom, upon noticing my eyebrows over video calls, was nostalgically transported to my teenage years before I had started visiting the salon, and we brought alive memories of those happy ol’ days. Talk about life coming full circle!