‘Thappad’ Movie Review: Self-empathy

Faakirah Junaid

- September 2, 2020

The movie can be seen as Indian Cinema’s giant leap into being able to put forth an issue of complexity with beautiful simplicity. However for me, it didn’t just stand out as a gender issue but a role play of power dynamics that are often at play in relationships. Apart from the movie bringing out the strength displayed by the main character standing her ground, it also spoke to me about an aspect often overlooked by women: self-empathy.

The movie shows how as a couple both work equally hard in their spaces however only the man’s work is ever quantified. The way the wife works selflessly isn’t something that should be praised, lacking empathy for her own self, the non-recognition of the efforts she’s put along with embarrassment she’s felt gave her a realisation that before being there for anyone she needs to be there for herself.

I feel a lot of women go through this constant struggle of feeling guilty when it comes to even thinking about themselves. This constant denial to themselves sometimes results in people who can be their partners, children or even in-laws crossing boundaries with them.With the learning in mind, here are a few things I’d like to share on how to be more self-empathetic. Here’s what you can do after life hits hard, when you are probably feeling all shades of exhaustion;

1) Take a long deep breath and clear your mind of all the thoughts that say you can’t deal with the mess that you are in. Toss them in the farthest corner of your brain. You don’t need to deal with self doubt at this very point.

2) Take yourself out on a date, order your favourite drink and take slow sips of it. Enjoy the way the flavours taste in your mouth. Experience the beauty of your taste buds, how they allow you to taste all these surreal flavours.

3) At moments when crippling anxiety eats your insides and you feel like you are going to lose everything you took ages to build – sit down, anywhere that you might be, just sit down. Take deep breaths in and out. Concentrate on five things you can see, feel and smell. Remind yourself of the victor that you are. Remind yourself that you are loved and cared for. Trust in the fact that this will pass. Get up and never let yourself get down, ever again.

4) Take a stroll, to the market or near your house. Give yourself time to analyze the issues. Think about them at ease. Understand how that’s making you feel. Don’t clog your emotions – feel them, validate your anger, sadness or chaotic mindspace. However, don’t let your emotions get the better of you.

5) Eat something, even when all you can feel is your heart racing or the dread in your stomach. No battle can be won on an empty stomach. Get yourself whatever it is that lightens up your mood. Eat and relish it. Only then, start dealing with your battles.

6) Know that pain is a part of your existence. Cry as much as you can. Venting out those bottled-up feelings won’t just make you feel lighter or better but will help you think clearly.

7) You are worth all that the universe has to offer and you need to hustle to let that happen to you. Remind yourself of the bigger picture, the bigger goals you’ve set for yourself. Remember that these little hurdles will only make you more polished and help you shine brighter. Look back at your achievements, remind yourself of the hardest times that you’ve been in and how gracefully you danced out of them. Take notes from the past and apply them in the future.

8) Breathe. Simply put, take that chaotic moment and turn it into your zen moment. Don’t let it get to you, let it flow through. Then pour yourself some water, drink it and then plan out how you are going to take charge of the situation.

9) It’s okay to be in the situation you are in. It’s totally human to be vulnerable, sad, lost, helpless, broke. It’s okay to fail than to fail some more. Sometimes, failure is a ladder to the place from where you can reach out to the highest of mountains.

10) Remind yourself that it’s going to be okay, you are going to make it out of this situation and build yourself a beautiful life. Like everything, building a beautiful life takes effort. Sometimes, waking up early can be a therapy you never thought you needed. Hot cups of tea with your grandmother can be lessons that you need to learn. Looking at the sunset creates its magic on the lake while listening to the chirping of birds that have travelled thousands of kilometers to create this very moment that you are experiencing, can turn out to be the best moment of your life.

Sometimes staying calm in tense situations can build in all the strength that is inside of you. And sometimes, the smile of a stranger walking next to you can ease your broken heart.

More information

At Serein we believe that empathy and inclusion are the pillars of a good society. Gender issues can affect home and the workplace in many ways. Having worked on gender and with many other forms of diversity we have come to realise that an empathetic approach to all builds inclusion. It also builds a trusting environment in society as well as the workplace. If you would like to learn more about diversity and inclusion, inclusive leadership or how to speak about empathy, emotional/mental health issues or have an awareness training on gender and inclusion in the workplace, do drop us a line at

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