Ever since Rupi Kaur published her first poetry book, Milk and Honey, in November 2014, girls and women all around the world have found themselves mesmerized with the Indian-born poet’s raw words and unique illustrations. The #1 New York Times best-selling author is known for writing poems that are centered around her own past experiences of love, hurt and healing, which have touched millions of fans who can relate to her past traumas and moments of self-discovery. Despite only being 27 years old, Kaur has been able to send powerful messages by sharing experiences that almost every woman can relate to. Personally, I have been able to resonate with the following lessons, and I hope you will, too.
- Realize your self-worth
Never settle for less. At times, you will find yourself giving and giving to people, until you end up realizing that this whole time you have been drained because no one was there to give back your energy. Do not let people take advantage of you and then not give you credit for the things you have done. The love and the time you give are both things that you cannot take back. Choose who deserves your kindness, and always be sure that the energy you receive matches what you give.
- Recognize toxic relationships
As Kaur has stated in another poem, “Don’t mistake salt for sugar.” Do not be so enraptured by the love that a man gives that you become blind to any flaws that he has. He could say sweet things to you, hold you tight in his arms, but that should never be a reason to look past any toxic behaviors such as lying, cheating, or even talking about other women in a demeaning way. If one claims to be “a man,” expect him to live up to it.
- Be kind to yourself
In the end, no one’s judgment is going to matter except our own. People can say what they would like about our bodies, our faces or the way we talk, but their words should not be able to hurt us unless we let them. So love yourself, heart, body and soul, and you’ll find that a positive attitude actually goes a long way. Your future self will thank you for it.
- Discover the power of your story
Some people underestimate just how important it is to speak up for things they believe in, and how powerful their voices can actually be when they do. Especially for people of color, we carry the stories of our families, and along with it the responsibility to carry on the culture. That is why it is so important to create role models in each generation, so that the people who come after us will be continuing what we have built for them. We must leave behind a legacy. In the end, we are inspiring the next generation of people, and we want them to always outdo the last each time, as more decades pass.
- Realize that you are complete on your own
A woman should never be perceived as “half of a whole” if she is without a man. Even without a partner, a woman can still do so much. She can work for herself, provide for herself and believe in herself wholeheartedly, all while reaping the benefits for herself and no one else. Before accepting a partner as “her other half,” a woman should be able to feel complete on her own and feel confident in everything she is.
Now that spring break is coming soon, this is the perfect opportunity to get in a little light reading! Feel free to visit your local library or bookstore and check out Rupi Kaur’s books, or you can even watch and listen to her read them aloud on YouTube. Either way, you’ll be able to dive deep into the poet’s journey of how she has become the woman she is today and discover her ability to transform stories into incredible works of art.