In various ways and for a long time, films and shows have taught and shown us how to be in love with someone. However, there are a few projects that teach you the value of loving yourself and getting a life for yourself. And that might be more crucial than finding love at times.
While I swoon over romance stories on any given day, there are some characters I've met along the way that have pushed me to embrace singlehood more freely.
Here are some of the on-screen characters who showed what it means to be single and truly happy.
1. Kaira in Dear Zindagi
When Kaira was in a relationship and had to cope with her inner issues on a regular basis, I learned how important it was to make peace with oneself first. In order to eventually be able to be with someone else, one must embrace and love who they are.
2. Piku in Piku
Shoojit Sircar gave us Piku, a truly independent female character who was never reduced to being someone's on-screen love interest. And who wouldn't appreciate a fresh spin on a character that a lot of women could identify with?
3. Rani in Queen
So far, Rani from Vikas Bahl's Queen has been the best example of discovering and accepting one's own self. There's more to life than heartbreaks and rejections, and there's a world to uncover both outside and inside ourselves.
4. Shakuntala in Shakuntala Devi
Shakuntala Devi dreamed and lived for herself even after having what was referred to as an "ideal happy family." The real-life mathematic prodigy didn't allow anything to get in the way of her life's journey, and everyone can learn from her.
5. Sandhya in Pagglait
Pagglait, a film about a young widow, has a lot of facets, one of which is the desire to have one's own identity. While society expects her to be protected and secure by a man and urges her to remarry, she chooses to sustain her individuality.
6. Ambar in Salaam Namaste
Ambar was introduced as the ideal modern woman at a period when Bollywood could hardly look beyond the boy-meets-girl narrative. Not only did she take full responsibility for herself, but she also refused to put up with a man who refused to share parental responsibility for their child.
7. Sona in Luck By Chance
In Luck By Chance, Sona is the greatest example of how one should always prioritise oneself over everything else. Despite the fact that she once loved the man (Farhan Akhtar), she chooses to go on with her life rather than return to him.
8. Jo March in Little Women
Despite the fact that practically every character in Little Women is masterfully constructed, Jo March is the one who teaches you self-love and self-worth. But her story also shows how difficult it is to love oneself and how being alone has a cost, yet is totally worth it.
9. Frances in Frances Ha
Frances Ha is a film about a woman whose drive to establish her own life is at the centre of her story, as is the implausibility of one's aspirations. However, Greta Gerwig's character, Frances, shows how our early years are about more than just finding love.
10. Merida in Brave
In the Disney film, Merida battles her family, clan, and nearly everyone who stands in the way of her aspirations and dreams. It's commendable that the protagonist made it apparent she wasn't interested in suitors in an age when being single is still seen as a defect.
11. Mulan in Mulan
Mulan not only defies Disney princess storytelling conventions, but also emphasises that a woman is complete in and of herself. And Disney should have learned and passed on this lesson a long time ago.
While it's great to find someone you can truly love, it's also wonderful to respect and cherish yourself.