Indian Women Embody Hope and Resilience
“The highest conception of womanhood is alleviating the suffering of those around us by embracing them with our hope and resilience.”
I am a psychologist by training, and I work as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Asutosh College. I began my career working at the Human Development & Research Institute (HDRI), a pioneer organization in the field of Drug Addiction and HIV/AIDS in Kolkata, India. Through my work, I have learned that empathy, acceptance, open-mindedness and nonjudgmental attitude are important qualities that are often embodied by women working in this field. I have also witnessed the powerful role that spirituality can play in helping to heal patients dealing with personal life crises, including terminal illness, drug addiction, and HIV/AIDS.
As I see women in India, many reflect what I would call ideal womanhood – working hard both in and outside the home. Women in India have a demonstrated ability to persevere, through deep struggle and hardship, and this is worthy of great praise. I have had ample opportunities to counsel the mothers and wives of drug addicts and persons living with HIV/ AIDS. In these situations, I have been surprised each time to observe their dedication and commitment to their loved ones. Women play a vital role by often setting an example of responding to difficult situations with love and confidence – they are the ones who manage emotional crises in the family context.
Terminally ill people can often lose peace of mind. Unresolved conflict, internalized self inflicted aggression enhance restless state of mind. Internalized self inflicted aggression means out of frustration they do harm to themselves. The discipline of withdrawing the mind from external pressures and concentrating it on self-care is chiefly exemplified by mother and wife. What I want to say here, is that womanhood is vital to our societies – and in Indian culture, womanhood means being protective, caring and empathetic. There is also an element of spirituality that is embodied, and I see this as directly connected to the concept of womanhood.
Psycho immunology suggests if patients with severe illness such as HIV/AIDS have a higher level of spirituality, they are able to relax and let their body recoup, and more easily fight diseases with a sense hope. In India it is believed woman have tremendous retentive powers. Whatever situation comes their way, they can handle it with dignity.
The strength of women is clear – when it gets dark, we help our communities toward the light. To those who are tormented and lost in a sea of trouble, we pull them out and help them find their way to peace. The highest conception of womanhood is alleviating the suffering of those around us by embracing them with our hope and resilience. Emphasizing the highest conception of womanhood is the highest honor and reverence that a community can offer to its women.
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