It was a bright sunny November morning. Outdoor yoga sessions are the trend this season. My friend, a licensed yoga teacher, holds these classes by the palmy beach side. After my class was over, I went over to the sea-facing restaurant to have my breakfast. I love outdoor yoga classes and I absolutely love the sound of waves. The reason I love the sound of waves is because it seems to say, ‘Hush, it’s ok!’, ‘Hush, it’s ok!’ It feels like the sea is trying to tell us, no matter what the situation is, all will be good in the end. If it’s not good, well, it’s not yet the end!
The friend who proved that love will stand firm
Interestingly, my friend, the confident yoga instructor on the beach, has proved it to me time and again that all is good in the end.
This friend I speak of had the habit of doing self-harm. Yoga teacher and self-harm is an unconceivable combination isn’t it? But things do change. Here’s the story of how this self-harming insecure girl became a yoga instructor.
Ever since her youth, Maya (name changed) had a behavioural trait unknown to anyone. Even to her parents. The habit of self-harm. She used to self-harm to get love, to get attention. When things went wrong, she punished herself by doing self-harm. A minor burn here, a minor scratch here, a minor cut there. Things went on unnoticed, because she often brushed it away, “I slipped on the floor” or something similar. A very sensitive person, she felt things deeply. As she grew up, her behaviour remained unchanged.
After marriage, although she had a loving husband and a family she often found herself tempted to self-harm. This behaviour was mostly triggered when she felt unloved, neglected and abandoned. Her husband is just human and there have been times when he had unknowingly made the situation perfect for her to do self-harm. Like every normal couple, they had fights and arguments. Her husband, unaware of her tendency, blamed her for things that she messed up, and pointed out her faults.
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When she burnt the toast
For example, one day she left the bread in the toaster for so long that it burned. It was only when they saw the smoke that she realised she has left the bread for too long. She was on a call with her best friend and forgot all about the bread. Her husband, definitely concerned, asked her to focus more on the task at hand rather than being carried away in conversations. This led to an argument where she said that she did not do it intentionally. She said “I work hard every day and it’s just once that something like this has happened.” Her husband replied “Once is dangerous enough.”
Things like this often got translated to her as ‘hatred for her’ and triggered her extreme behaviour. Taken over by a fear of abandonment she lacked the capacity to understand. Things went on and one day it reached such an extreme that she found herself in a serious pool of blood. It was a serious situation, but her husband remained calm. After giving her first aid, he decided to meet her counsellor.
What the counsellor said about her self-harming behaviour
She told him, “Your wife self-harms to get attention. If you observe, it is only when she does not get attention or gets hurt by people she loves that she does this.
If she gets her way, she will be encouraged to take more steps. Give her the feeling that her self-harm only distances you from her. Your wife needs to learn self-love. Because self-love is the only thing that can bring in more love. Once she understands this, she will be healed.”
A few days later he left her at her mother’s home. This was the safest place that she could be in. They had decided that unless she completed her therapy successfully, she would stay at her mother’s. They kept in touch, of course, and spent weekends together. Her husband had, however, told her that they were not to co-habit unless she learnt self-love. He reasoned that since she did not naturally have the understanding of self-preservation, it was not wise to leave her alone at home. It was a tough decision, but to cure her and bring her back to being the person he had fallen in love with, he had to do what scared her the most. Abandon her. Abandon her so that she learnt to be emotionally independent.
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Learn to love yourself first
“No one loves a person who takes her own self for granted. The amount of respect, love and dignity that you give yourself, comes back to you. Here I see none. I cannot love someone who hurts the one I love. You cannot get love by breaking yourself, you can only get love by loving yourself.”
He said this, dropped her at her mother’s home and left. Things were scary for her initially, but what her husband said to her remained in her mind. Every time she had the temptation to self-harm she remembered her husband’s words – “You do not get love by breaking yourself, you get love by loving yourself.” Gradually she gained control over her situation. She started practising yoga at a nearby studio for health reasons and went on to be a licensed yoga teacher. Today she teaches at a reputed yoga studio. Yes, she is back with her husband too, who was more than overjoyed to have her back.
What their love has taught me
I looked at my friend by the seaside. The wind blew her loose strands of hair as she taught her class. This class will be followed by a counselling session by her on self-love. In between, she will grab breakfast with me. When I look at my friend and her husband, I understand what love is.
Looking at her husband I realise, “Love is an emotion that never lets the other go the wrong way; even though it might mean a little sacrifice on one’s side.”
When I look at my friend, I start to believe that “Love cures.”
As the waiter served our breakfast, I saw my friend finishing off class and running towards the restaurant I was seated in. When she reached my table, she pulled out a chair for herself. Raising one eyebrow she looked at me and smiled.
“What?” I asked
“Enjoying the sea saying ‘Hush, it’s ok’?”
“Completely,” I answered.