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Sairee Chahal
Last updated 12 Dec 2017 . 6 min read

Dear Daughters (& Sons), Embrace And Celebrate Your Uniqueness!


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Dear Daughters (And Sons),

I have always felt someone should have told me things, which seem obvious but not stated. Like how to know whether I am doing the right thing, how to spot an asshole or a jerk, how to talk to boys or saying no.

But having talked with so many women – young and old, I have also learned that we share a lot in common, especially in kind of mistakes we make and how similar our worlds are, even when they are very different from outside. I am going to attempt to share what I have learned – many times by making mistakes and sometimes picking things intuitively.

Deep down we all want love, we want respect, dignity, happiness and we want things in life we are passionate about. As we grow up, some of these things get complex. Our lives get busy, we move away from things we were once close to and the world keeps changing. Sometimes we get lost in what other people tell us and we forget to listen to our hearts. Sometimes, we don’t pay attention to what reality is telling us, especially when we are only paying attention to what we want to.

Here is some life learning, from someone who left home at 17 and has been out very often. This is again my perspective and you need to bring yours to it. And hopefully share it forward.

 

SHEROES CEO & Founder, Sairee Chahal 
SHEROES Founder & CEO, Sairee Chahal

 

Protect your space: We all have space, which is our own. This is sometimes where we feel most comfortable. And we share it with very few people. Sometimes we don’t share it with even our own family. This space maybe parts of our day like reading or exercising or it is just our own physical presence – our body and our energy zone. Just me and my physical body. Learn to protect that space. Only people who are very trustworthy should have access to it. As we grow, people will try to encroach it. Protect it as this is your safe zone. Don’t open it to everyone. You don’t have to. Be a little stingy here. Your sense of physical space and your ownership over it helps you create your own zone. All animals do it, even the ones who move in herds. When someone tries to push their way into your safe space, you know it is a sign. That may happen through small encroachments like back-slapping, hands on shoulders or inviting themselves into what seems your private activities. You know which your space is and how important it is to you.

It is okay to be unpopular: I can tell you popularity is overrated and no one really got left behind if they were smart but unpopular. As we go to school, college, work – some things are always a popularity contest. Boyfriends, parties, music collections, your physical bodies – the Barbie stereotypes, later other things like how you dress or look or how social you are. Sometimes, you may be asked to do things in groups you are not comfortable about – drinking, drugs, kissing, group dates. It is okay to say no if it doesn’t feel right to you. You may choose to do anything you want provided that is who you are. It doesn’t matter what your peers think after a while, they don’t know your inner you and are not part of your physical space. Be a little selfish. Be popular with yourself. You don’t have to please most people in life. The truth is, most don’t care. You are just a tiny spec in their real lives, except gossip. Focus on yours. You are smart the way you are.

Watch out for uncomfortable signs: I was once meeting this guy for work and his parting statement was; “We will meet for breakfast’, in bed.” Weird, weird, weird I thought! It felt odd and highly improper and not to mention icky. Always watch out for that icky feeling. Needless to say, not much business was transacted over there. When you go out for parties, you will meet all sorts of folks. Ones who will blurt out I love you within 10 minutes of meeting you to ones who will pass comments on how hot you look! There are many more things you are likely to hear. Always check on how it feels. Check for the out of place feeling or you wish the conversation made you feel more included and respected. 

Set your compass: Find time to come home to yourself. Deep down we all know what is right for us but we get busy and we let us hide. Come back to yourself every day. You can do that by – writing a journal, playing a sport, listening to music, just being on your own quietly, going for a walk, talking to a parent or sibling. Trust yourself and find time to go back to who you are every day. Even 5 minutes help. It is like brushing your teeth. Call it spiritual maintenance but we all need it. We are spiritual being – we are made of up of how we feel. Take time to work on how you feel by coming back to your true North every day.

When we are out there with a busy schedule and a whole lot of exciting things happening in our lives, we can come home to a daily re-energizer. Something that helps us to not get lost. Sometimes that gives us time to go over our day. Something that will power you on.

Compare your values: When you meet people, compare their values to yours. This is not an excel sheet exercise but simple things. Does this person genuinely smile at the waiter? Do they say please and thank you. Are they kind in their actions? Imagine you have a pet puppy. Would you feel okay leaving this person baby sitting your dog? Do they act one way with you and differently with others. Do you feel odd with some things they do. Remember, Phoebe, dumping this guy in FRIENDS because he killed a bird? Her values didn’t match his. Do you place emphasis on the same things – run a silent check on people with your own personal value meter.

Life is a gift presented to you in all its wonder. You owe it to yourself to put yourself first, honor your feelings and find safe, kind, generous spaces and people to grow. Listen to your heart but use your brains. Be selective. Be discreet. Nothing good ever gets away and remember, you are loved, no matter what and you are awesome!

Love,
Sairee

 

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Sairee Chahal
Sairee is the Founder of www.sheroes.in - a platform connecting women to corporates and offers career opportunities, resources, mentorship. A believer in work-life redesign, serial entrepreneur, mentor, an occasional writer and mother of an 8-year-old, Sairee is India’s foremost women at work evangelist. She earlier co-founded Fleximoms and also worked with CII, Heidrick and Struggles. In 2000 she set up Newslink Services, world’s first newspaper for mariners. A winner of the Devi Award 2014, and a L’oreal Award nominee, Cartier Alumni and TED speaker, Sairee has an M.Phil in International Relations from JNU

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Responses

  • K*****
    Very true. But unfortunately most women never get to know and understand these life lessons at the right time. they understand it quite later. By then they would have experienced these the hard way.
  • K*****
    Very true. But unfortunately most women never get to know and understand these life lessons at the right time. they understand it quite later. By then they would have experienced these the hard way.
  • P*****
    Very helpful n also change our mind
  • H*****
    I loved your blog, well explained and I too personally follow such articles.
  • A*****
    Really liked it,relate to it as well
  • A*****
    I really liked what you had to say Ma'am. In making time for others, we actually forget that oneself should be a priority.
  • N*****
    Really I am impressed by ur story , but at 61 I have to work , I retired from Ksfc , but no pension , rate of interest has reduced , to survive in bangalore is difficult for me , can I given training for work , as I don't have much computer knowledge . Thnks for ur website has given me some job
  • V*****
    Its such an awesome advice.
  • S*****
    Awesome advise Sairee. Be true to yourself, Don't try to be someone you are not! If the values don't match, let the person go.
  • D*****
    Reminds me of Dr Seuss e who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind
  • L*****
    Worth reading :)
  • R*****
    I am saving this to read and reread again and again... Esp to save me through a bad day
  • Y*****
    This made my day😊
  • P*****
    You just hit the nail on the head, luv your write up.
  • S*****
    Simple bt ....... spiritual msg
  • V*****
    My teenage must read this and younger one needs to understand that it's OK not to be popular. Deep down, I believe that each one of us are special in some way, that we possess qualities that set us apart from the masses. Yes,a person is all about values and integrity.
  • R*****
    Like alwayz...a perfect read to start my day
  • R*****
    Love your open letter ...Well crafted n beautifully written
  • T*****
    So enlightening .. so good to read it early morning .. thanks for sharing Sairee
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