Come February and love comes floating in the air. A sales galore of chocolates, flowers, balloons, cards and cute teddy bears in all shapes and sizes – with an overdose of red.
Celebrated as a festival for young lovers, it has graduated over the years to include anyone you love – family and friends included.
We demonstrate this love in different ways through the year. People selflessly devote themselves to their children, their work and a host of other responsibilities leaving little or no time for themselves. Combined with high levels of stress, over a prolonged period time this can lead to issues with low self-esteem, silent depression and in worse cases self-harm.
With this mind, Artistic Yoga & Pilates (AYP) has launched a social media campaign simply called #LoveYourself. Conceptualized by two enterprising young women, Natasha Menon and Danica Fernandes, #LoveYourself encourages all of us to love and embrace who we are and love ourselves.
The idea of the campaign is to capture how beautiful each individual is, no matter their age, size or color. Natasha and Danica initially pitched it to the AYP team and received a great response.
The message of the campaign is simple and clear: Love yourself first. Before anything else. Before you lose weight. Before you get fit. Before you get your dream job, your dream life or your dream partner. Realization is the first step to progress. No one is perfect. Your flaws do not define who you are, it is how you make them work for you. We are all perfectly imperfect. Self-belief is infinitely powerful. When you are confident in who you are and your abilities, you can do anything you set your mind to. This gives you the ability to get back up after rejection or failure and keep moving forward; and that is what leads to happiness and success.
The campaign was kicked off with a photo shoot where random individuals, members and instructors of AYP – everyday men and women with everyday jobs and responsibilities, coming together for a cause. Led by photographers Vijayaprabaha Srihari, Joyston D’souza and Joy Roshan D’silva, the ‘models’ wore jewelry sponsored by Moumita Bhattacharya, owner of SB Fashions and had their makeup and hair styling courtesy Swarna Shetty, owner of Diva Salon for Ladies.
“Each individual is beautiful in his or her own way and with #LoveYourself we want to remind people about it. When you love yourself, people can pick up on that. They see the confidence and sense the self-esteem.” says Suganda Menon, Founder, AYP.
So this Valentines let’s take some time to embrace ourselves as individuals, take a moment to breath and appreciate the beauty within ourselves. Count our blessings and be grateful for all this beautiful gift we call life. #LoveYourself.
By Nita Bhatkar Chogle
Special to The Times