Press "Enter" to skip to content

A happiness mantra

Fall in love with yourself, says this self-help book from Dr Radhika Kapoor, a dentist who is also a stylist and yoga practitioner

“Make the best relationship with yourself: the tip of the triangle is self-care and love, then taper to our life as parents, siblings, friends, kids and co-workers,” dentist Radhika Kapoor says in the introduction to A Gift to Self. With Diwali behind us and Christmas coming up, it’s easy to forget that the best thing you will ever get is you, yourself.

Advice about improving your life has never come more neatly packaged. This book sets out 50 basic rules of human nature such as forgiveness, power of appreciation, learning to say ‘No’ wisely and compassion which can help you achieve a calmer, more serene state of mind, a far cry from the harried feeling most city-dwellers carry around all the time.

The author characterises these rules as being about our inner wisdom. She is not re-inventing the wheel but reminding us that certain basic human values have endured despite all the technological changes we see around us. “We always knew these rules but by reading them again and again we can enhance our life and conduct ourselves better than before. Spend time with yourself to figure out what you want and at the same time make meaningful relationships,” she writes.

Dr Radhika Kapoor studied dentistry in Mangalore at ABSM dental institute and then practised in New Delhi for 12 years. When living in San Ramon, California, she did some short courses and helped in the family dental practice. After joining her husband’s export division, she travelled to many European countries to learn about the textile trade and got to know many diverse cultures.

Such a globe-trotting life can give you insights into human nature that you would not get from living in the same place all your life, moving in the same social circles. Some excerpts:

  • We are defined by the decisions we make so make a promise to do it for yourself and then we can have anything we want if we really want it badly. Self-love makes us satisfied in our lives and helps us work towards our goals. Let’s validate our opinions and exist in the moment. Building the skills of compassion and self-awareness rewires our brain to focus on better and you feel good about yourself.
  • Communication is an important factor for building better relationships. One of the simplest methods is to smile, make good eye contact and remember people’s names as it’s the sweetest and most significant sounds to them. Once we offer understand and respect to people we get connected to them and it builds a trusting bond.
  • My logic is fake it till you make it. The key to get anything in life is to practice. For instance, if you want to feel happier, do what happy people do, smile. If you behave like a person you want to become, you will be that in reality.
  • Experiences made us wiser so don’t be afraid to take risks as we learn from them faster. We need to keep moving forward bit by bit to create a future that is destined for us. Let’s work on our strengths and abilities so we can achieve the best we can.
  • The real victory for our mind and soul is that we attract the right energy and people who respect and appreciate our journey and we make an effort to be equanimous and not to get entangled in righteousness and hence lose the essence of our life.
  • Our happiness quotient comes from something to do, something to love and something to hope for. Happiness is a spiritual experience as we already have everything we need to be peaceful, happy and content right here and right now.

In short, A Gift to Self is about the most wonderful gift we give ourselves by discovering ourselves and becoming more of who we already are. By taking care of ourselves and supporting our dreams we live this wonderful life on our terms and be proud of who we are.