Why Some Women Find It Hard to Love Themselves

February 17, 2011  |  

Lola Adesioye is a British-born Nigerian who’s known for her work in music and media…promoting artists like Sean Paul and Missy Elliott. She works as a commentator, writer and broadcaster, who’s written for The Guardian, The Economist, The Huffington Post, TIME magazine, and CNN.com to name a few. Her first motivational/inspirational book was released in February and is called
Focus Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.
We sat down with motivational speaker, Lola Adesioye to explore a series of pressing questions among women. In Part I below, we focus on why it’s so darn difficult for some women to love themselves!

China: What causes women, in general, to lack inspiration and/or self-confidence?

Lola: Even though we are supposedly equal to men, there are still so many messages that undermine who we are as women – messages about how we are supposed to look and how tall we should be or how thin we should be, or what it means to be a woman today and so on. It is easy to absorb these without even being aware of it. Look at the cover of any magazine and you’d think that being a woman was all about being a certain size, airbrushed, no blemishes, perfect teeth, perfect hair and so on. That is a hard standard to live up to – even the women on those magazine covers do not look like that all the time. And, when they are not looking amazing, some gossip magazine is pointing out the cellulite on their thighs or the one spot on their face. Nowhere do I see the message that says ‘you are perfect as you are’. Self-confidence is ultimately about accepting yourself as you are, and I think in general in our world, that perspective is lacking.

China: What are some of the self-image issues plaguing women, and how should they deal with those?

Lola: The main one I find seems to be “I’m not good enough.” This is something I have dealt with too and it seems to be common to most women in one way or another. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a woman who is totally at peace with who she is and how she is right now. I can think of perhaps one or two. This manifests, destructively, in how women feel about their looks or hair or bodies or careers or relationships – there’s just this constant dissatisfaction with oneself. It’s very pervasive though and is almost seen as normal.

How to deal with it…. Well, it first of all requires us to develop a knowledge of who we are in our essence. Too many of us believe that we are our job or our looks or some external thing. This provokes fear because anything external is also changeable. Your looks will change, your body will change, your hair will change, your job will change, your relationship will change. We have to come to know ourselves beyond our [external] identity because none of those things are who we are. Those are things we have. This means [we have] to tap into who we are in our essence, to start ask some soul-searching questions like “who am I really?” Who we all really are goes way beyond the physical or the external or even the visible, and when we tap into that – when we know that we are a life force – and that our bodies/appearance/jobs/cars e.t.c. are all just physical manifestations and vessels for the expression of that life force, [much of our insecurities] can start to fall away.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II of our motivational speaker series with Lola Adesioye. For more information about her e-book, feel free to visit her online store at: www.LolaAdesioye.com/Store.

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  • cimari

    I was raised to be confident,bold and independent by a single mother and her family. I was given unlimited,unconditional love so I've never been needy for that. But I also learnt the lessons of courage, discipline and sacrifice. I learnt to give goodness and gratitude.I learnt to take the punches from life and keep moving. So it's true that the home sets the foundation of our lives.It's not the only thing that defines us but the one with the greatest impact..
    So In spite of the flaws and the failures I can't focus on them because life is bigger than me.It's the gift we all have every day that we wake up.

  • dee

    I had two parents at home, and I still face self esteem/self image issues. I was the darkest of my siblings…and I tell you names do really hurt. Words have power and that's why we really need to be careful of what we say. I have learned to listen more and speak less… Back to topic, couple negative thinking with today's media and you're in serious trouble. Solution is simple though…when I feel those feelings of discontentment rise up in me I think of children in around the world who don't have a tenth of what I have and have problems I could imagine havng to deal with. My advice, get over yourself. Youre stuck with you until you die, the sooner you accept the skin youre in, you can focus on bigger issues.

  • Amazing

    Are you serious Denise? Where were your parents when you were growing up? Self love is taught at home from the moment your able to talk;: from you parents. I'm not sure of your age or if you came from a two parent household. While growing up in a household were your parents instill in you how beautiful you are and always building your self-confidence & self worth, you don't need some outside source to validate you. Your family are the ones who prepare you for the world once you set out to elementary school. My self esteem didn't come from the "idiot box" or from celebriites or someone else's moral compasse, especially from some one who does not have any integrity any way. Mine came from my parent's. My dad adored my mom and his daughters and treated us like queens, that is why I truly love myself and don't have self esteem issues. television is for entertainment purpose only! Don't ever pattern yourself after the people in the entertainment industry you will end up on some "white coats" couch. Do you and love yourself, because if you love yourself enough people will love you the way you want to be love. God Bless you dear!

  • Denise Jones

    Women find themselves hard to love because black men have taught us not to love ourselves. They have trained us by treating us like dirt….singing songs that make us feel like trash….treating us with other trifling women that don't respect other black women who have a man. Beyonce and Rhianna teach the world that all we are are booty calls scantly dressed singing about nothing to do with positive black love, just sex. What does love have to do with it?

  • kimberly

    great article – looking fwd to part 2

  • great article…but I wanted to say this and maybe you can do an article on it…people say love yourself..be confident…blah blah blah…but what if they tell you..that you're overly confident and should tone it down…now on the other hand they're telling you to love youself…i've actuallly had this problem..people tell me (mostly girlfriends..family)..that im too stuck on my looks…but i could see if i wasn't attractive and/or it was just me day dreaming and not from real feedback from the female gender…what should i be down on myself? or embrace who/what I am and my abilities..i think the latter..:)

    Ladies Here’s One LITTLE Thing to Consider Before You Stop Dating Black Men
    http://t.co/ejdECY8 <– for you ladies..

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  • sasha


    The only time you will be unhappy, even depressed is when you try to please everybody but yourself! Stay true to yourself (which doesn't mean that you should not change, just the opposite, change when you have the feeling it is time to grow again), try out different things, use this competition as a positive motivation at the utmost, as soon as you catch yourself beating yourself for your looks say stop! to yourself. Because as a rule things are not what they seem. People are not what they seem on the outside. And the blond Becky next to you at the lecture, you know, the one with the perfect as*, great bo*bs, and perpetual smile is often the loneliest on the inside… or has herpes! Bwwwaahhhh, there is a God, truely there is!