Self-Love Comes At A Cost: Zainab Patel, Entrepreneur & Trans Activist

At SheThePeople's 40 Over 40 Awards event in Mumbai, Zainab Patel urged the audience, particularly women, to own their identity and practice self-love.

Tanya Savkoor
New Update
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While self-love is a popular topic of discourse, the art of practising it remains a challenge for many. The world puts a strong emphasis on rigidity and binaries, leaving little space for self-exploration and acceptance. For many women, self-love and prioritising oneself feels like a huge detour from the expected image of a doting and altruistic daughter, mother, or wife. However, social entrepreneur Zainab Patel reminds them, "Self-love is not selfish." Speaking at SheThePeople's 40 Over 40 Awards, the transgender activist and diversity catalyst asserted why women must own their self-identity and accept themselves.


Zainab Patel is the National Manager of Health & Human Rights at the UNDP country office in India. She was recognised at the SheThePeople 40 Over 40 award for amplifying the voices of marginalized communities in India.

Learning to Accept Love 

Newsflash! Women are individuals too. They do not just exist to selflessly provide for their families while accepting nothing in return. They need just as much love and positivity in return as they put out in the world. Yet, they are often made to feel unworthy.

While accepting her SheThePeople 40 Over 40 Award, changemaker Zainab Patel pointed out, "Many of us, at some point in time, have been told in our lives that we are unloveable. By our parents, partners, husbands, children, friends, or society. As a transwoman, I learnt the hard way that self-love comes at a huge cost. But self-love is not about being selfish. It's about investing in yourself.'

Patel asserted that while the journey to accepting self-love could be rocky, it is crucial for women's well-being and personal growth. She added, "I also want to take a moment to tell you all to please invest in your mental health apart."


Patel added, "Apart from your finances, social stuff, or whatever it may be, invest in mental health. It will take you a very long race ahead." Further, she thanked women for being courageous in making decisions and being themselves.

"(Change) basically starts with being yourself," Patel emphasised. Further, ending her speech on an impactful note, Patel expressed, "Since trans people are associated with clapping, I want you to give thunderous applause for this wonderful evening."

Zainab Patel's experiences and the speech she gave at the 40 Over 40 Award event are reminders for individuals to embrace their individuality and learn to receive love just the way they give it to the world. 

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