You are a Priority February 12 2019 2 Comments

As women, we are incredibly hard on ourselves. We prioritize everything before our own needs and emotions; our jobs, families, friends. Our selfless acts of love and duty take a toll on our emotional well-being and make us feel lesser than we are. How can you put your best foot forward when you’re not a priority in your own mind? How can you spark joy in yourself when you look in the mirror?

 

I’ve had a long and winding journey towards realizing that I’m a priority. As a student, training to be a scientist, my single-minded goal was to make my parents proud. I HAD to be a valedictorian, get admitted to the best programs in the best universities, without ever stopping to think if this is what I really wanted for myself. Once I was in a truly accomplished research institute, it was all about making my mentor proud. Is my research worthy of being published in the best journals? Is my work winning research awards and grants? Am I worthy of the risk my mentor took when he accepted me as his student? Do I spark joy when I see myself in the mirror?

 My research on the cover page of JBC in 2013

 

Life always has the harshest ways of putting things in perspective. A close friend and fellow cancer researcher was diagnosed with an untreatable form of Ewing’s Sarcoma. An entire world-class battery of doctors and scientists, with all the latest equipment and years of training, couldn’t get a handle on his disease and make him comfortable during his remaining days. How could I, a friend and fellow student, make his suffering any lesser when the specialists are struggling? How can I justify sparking joy when I look in the mirror?

 

 Thesis Defense on 20th September, 2013 (L-R: Anna, Shradha & Greg)

 

I made myself a priority and took a step towards doing what I really wanted to do. For myself. I made jewelry. Lots of it. I saw the joy in my customers’ eyes when they strutted wearing my creations. I raised funds to help in providing home-care for my ailing friend. I sparked joy in him when I lessened his pain just a tiny bit. I had been a part of his journey, through comfort and pain. I could finally see myself in the mirror with confidence. I sparked joy in myself.

 

 

 

You are a strong and independent woman. You take the centerstage in your life. You make a difference to things that matter when you make yourself a priority. Take a deep breath, wear your favorite pair of earrings. Look in the mirror. You are sparking joy everywhere you go.