All Articles Tagged "self love"
Our black is beautiful – hair, skin, and all. We shower our girls with praise by complimenting the richness of their cocoa, caramel, or vanilla colored skin. We massage their scalp and nurture their baby curls – from kinky to super wavy. We want our girls to respect and love themselves. We constantly fight the barrage of criticisms our girls may be exposed to, including negative attention swarming around their hair and skin tone. Our girls need their self-esteem lifted. What better way to celebrate the love of our culture and promote self love with our girls than through a book that our girls can relate to. Whether your little girl has a growing bookshelf or e-reader, she will want to add these must-reads to her collection.
As quiet as it’s kept, May is national month. Some of us have no problem taking care of business and pleasuring ourselves. Others of us don’t understand what the hype’s all about and then there are some of us who feel like “self love” is despicable…against God’s will even. We asked our Facebook followers if they knew about the month and why they feel some women are hesitant to talk about it. See what they had to say about it.
Flavia: Cause society teaches us to be ashamed of our bodies and of our sexuality. While men are raised to embrace it and be proud.
Martina: All women don’t do it. It’s not a fear thing. It’s a preference.
Having read the timelines of a few male “relationship experts” I have laughed and sometimes just stared in disbelief. At first, I was livid with these men, these snake oil salesmen who jumped on the “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” money train. I wanted to RUIN their little hustle. But when I stopped to consider the whole racket, when I looked at the amount of women following these men, retweeting their misogynistic drivel I realized my energies were focused in the wrong direction.
Ladies, I understand. You ignore your gut sometimes. You collect all the warnings & wisdom together into a neat pile and stack them at the back corner of your mind. You leave them there. You leave them there because if you dust them off and consider them, they will lead you further away from your goal. The goal that every Jared’s commercial throws at you. The goal your Auntie Janet reminds you of at every family reunion:
Securing a loving, long-lasting in relationship.
We all want to be loved, to feel worthy of someone’s affection, time, trust. A ring and a happily ever after. But then we get hurt in the pursuit of it all. Walls go up. Tears roll down. Anger makes a home. Trust runs away. Issues fester. And relationships become much more of an obscure maze than we ever thought possible.
Enter: The male self-professed “relationship expert” who, in all honesty, says some of the right things. He gives us the new age basics for relationships, doesn’t he? With tweets like “A relationship should be 100/100, not 50/50,” and “Communication is key.”
No untruths there, right? But we, as women, fail to realize that these are gems that are already buried in our feminine intuition. The gems we ignore because we’re tired of waiting for the right one. We want this one to be The One! We sidestep what was divinely placed in us and substitute it with the robotic, woman-hating and sometimes even rape culture reinforcing “advice” from men who show every sign of unresolved mommy issues. But because they’ve got 38,000 followers on Twitter, they MUST be preaching some kinda results-yielding truth, right? Not always.
We’ve succumb to a watered-down perception of what it means to be a woman. We take our place as sex objects and chefs for the men in our lives because that’s where we belong, right? That’s what it takes to get and keep a good man, right? Well yeah, to let some of these hireling male relationship “experts” tell it that’s exactly right.
We have been blinded to the height and depth of ourselves, the gifts and the inward “knowing” inherent to womanhood. We say that we believe we are intellectual equals to men yet we scurry to the bookshelves and Twitter to support men who believe it is their duty to teach women how to be women yet spend little to no time instructing MALES how to be MEN. We count their knowledge of us superior to our own intuition, our own lessons learned from our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers. We deny our internal GPS when dealing with relationships because of our biological clocks wired by societal ideology to explode if we haven’t “locked him down” and started working on some babies before 30. I know. I’ve wrestled with it too.
We accept messages from men who are knowingly working with a pair of imbalanced scales – weighting women’s behavior within relationships more heavily than men’s. We willingly carry that weight if it’ll get us a man. We believe irresponsible generalizations about both sexes from men who in more than one way demonstrate that their main priority is to make a profit. We disregard what we have been conditioned to disregard. We devalue our higher selves that function as more than sexual excitement and visual aesthetic for men because well, society devalues us.
Am I discrediting male relationship advisers Absolutely not. I have learned a great many lessons from men with regards to love and the pursuit of love. But their intentions were pure. Their messages were clean of any underlying agenda. Their messages were responsible. When they took on the mantle to help people with their love lives they took it seriously and understood that every word they wrote, every word they spoke would count. They understood that they have a responsibility to THINK OBJECTIVELY and to dispense advice as a result of that.
What I am offering is an invitation to women to turn the lights on. To not just run blindly in the direction of whatever book or tweet claims to help you get a man. Be self-aware. Be aware of the messages. Open your eyes to misogyny. Don’t internalize everything you read or hear. As Bishop T.D. Jakes one wrote, “Eat the meat and throw away the bones.”
Just because a man said it does not mean it is law. Just because a man discounts your mind, does not mean you are incapable of thought. We are more in tune with love and life than we even dare to consider. And if ever there were a time to gather up our womanhood and walk boldly in it, it is now.
A Sister Offering Something To Consider
La Truly’s writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe www.about.me/latruly
Why Be Intimidated By Other Sistahs? We Can ALL Shine: How I Learned To Deal With Feelings Of Inadequacy
A few weeks ago, I reported on the moving speech delivered by Gabrielle Union at Essence’s Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon. During her speech, the Being Mary Jane actress discussed masking her feelings of inadequacy and being intimidated by other beautiful and successful women.
“We live in a town that rewards pretending. I had been pretending to be fierce and fearless for a very long time. I was a victim masquerading as a survivor… I used to shrink in the presence of other dope beautiful women. I used to revel in gossip and rumors, and I lived for the negativity inflicted upon my sister actresses or anyone who I felt whose shine diminished my own.”
Something about those words resonated with me. I remember playing the video clip of her speech over and over, in complete awe of her courage and transparency. I was taken back to a time where I greatly struggled with low self-esteem; a time when feelings of inadequacy and condemning thoughts took permanent residency in mind.
I remembered the times when I’d feel down on myself after another woman made a major accomplishment or less than beautiful because I was in the presence of another fabulous and attractive woman. I reflected on the days where I was overly ambitious and nearly killed myself trying to be perfect. Not merely because I simply wanted to attain whatever goal I was striving towards, but because I wanted to ensure that my family was proud of me. As if I was somehow earning their love. As if when stripped of everything, I was somehow unworthy of being loved by them, but with every degree earned, accomplishment made and reward received, I was somehow earning my keep. At least that’s what my subconscious mind believed.
It took me so long to even recognize that I had a problem and come to grips with the fact that although I may have appeared to have it all together outwardly, inside I was a mess. Inside was a disturbed and insecure young woman, who no matter what equation she used to gauge her worth, never quite measured up.
Black women are simply amazing, so it’s not strange to believe that every once in a while we may feel a bit intimidated by one another, but the point is not tear each other down, but instead to build one another up. I believe this was best summarized in an October piece on Clutch entitled “Special Enough” written by Jamilah Lemeiux:
“Black girls are awesome, right? We talk about this all the time. We’re fierce, funky, and fly. We make trends, we transcend. You go to any ‘hood in America and you can find sisters who are no less stunning than the Halle Berrys and Kelly Rowlands on TV. We’re dope. In Brooklyn, I am constantly surrounded by stunning, accomplished, Black magic women. And I feel very much empowered as a part of this tribe. Glamazon women. Urban warriors. Dust daughters.”
“But I can’t lie: it’s some days where I just feel like I’m not enough.”
Feelings of inadequacy are rarely discussed, so we’re made to think we’re abnormal in sometimes feelings this way, but the truth of the matter is, it’s really not abnormal at all. What really matters is what we choose to do with those thoughts and feelings. One day I made up my mind to no longer be a victim to my thoughts and emotions. I decided that I would no longer dwell on condemning thoughts that made me feel as if I was anything less than a talented and beautiful black woman. I cleansed my mind of the ideology that someone else’s success and progress somehow dimmed my own. And finally, I vowed to cease comparing myself to other people. It was a long road, but I eventually got to the point where I learned to sincerely celebrate others without viewing their triumphs as some kind of impedance of my own success, and I like to believe that I am a better person because of it.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.
Chris and Ada Ngoforo, a couple living in London are very serious when it comes to teaching their daughters about their Nigerian heritage. When they were unable to find dolls that looked like their daughters, the entrepreneurs launched an African-themed line of dolls called “Rooti Dolls,” reports CNN.
The couple became concerned because their three daughters did not speak Igbo, one of the ethnic languages spoken in Nigeria.
“We thought amongst ourselves what we can do to actually help them to learn Igbo more,” said Chris Ngoforo.
Although the designing of the dolls began as a simple way for the Ngoforo’s to bridge the gap between their daughters and their Nigerian culture, they quickly realized that they had a fantastic business opportunity in front of them.
The dolls are programmed to speak in a variety of Africa’s native languages and are said to promote positive self-image in young girls.
“We observed that over 90% of children born or living in the diaspora and millions in Africa do not speak or understand their mother tongues. Our research made us understand that the reason for this is not because our children don’t want to learn their mother tongues, but more because there are not many essential tools that can easily be both educational and fun at the same time,” said Ngoforo.
So far the line has produced 12 dolls. Each of them are from a different country in Africa, speak multiple languages and comes with her own interesting backstory. As if that isn’t amazing enough, Ngoforo revealed that he and his wife were sure to create the dolls with varying shades of skin color in an effort to do away with inaccurate representations of Black people.
“Over the years my wife and I have found it extremely hard finding real black dolls that can truly connect with our little daughters. The dolls out there in the market are nothing close to the real image of a black child in terms of features and other attributes — they are either too thin, too light or chiseled-faced, and even the complexions of most of the dolls are kind of whitewashed,” he said.
“The unfortunate effect of this stereotypical misrepresentation is a case of low self-esteem among black children who have been directly or indirectly made to believe less in themselves as a black child. They have been made to believe that you have to look like a white doll to be accepted as beautiful or even good,” he continued.
Skip to the next page for more photos of the Rooti Dolls.
By Michelle Rosenthal
Like any other commitment, self-care can become a chore. Whenever we force ourselves to do something the fun factor flies out the window. Yet, self-care should be one thing on our schedules that feels good! How can we turn a commitment into a pleasure? I think the key is committing to something that brings you joy. Let me explain…
Six years ago, at the age of thirty-seven, I was diagnosed with advanced osteoporosis. Putting it bluntly, my endocrinologist explained, “If you don’t immediately commit to a regimen of strength training, your bones will begin to crumble spontaneously.” You can imagine my following crash course in self-care.Up until that point I had never thought about what I do to take care of myself. I had worked out, or not, when the spirit moved me. I meditated or not when I felt the desire for that kind of inner connection. My self-care was based on whim, not necessity.
So there I was facing the spontaneous crumbling of my bones and needing to commit to a regimen not only of strength training, but of a level of self-care I’d never previously entertained. Suddenly, self-care wasn’t some amorphous idea but an action that pertained to my very ability to walk upright. Suddenly, self-care had a purpose.
Making the commitment to self-care isn’t easy. Mood, other activities and time constraints can make it difficult to follow through. Fear, however, is a great motivator. Terrified that my bones would crumble I committed to self-care with the ferocity of a hurricane. I didn’t enjoy it but I did it. Within two years I completely reversed the osteoporosis. Since then I’ve stuckto my workout regime without a hitch.
When motivated by fear, sticking to a self-care schedule becomes incredibly easy. The problem comes when we don’t have that instant inspiration. When self-care offers purely emotional or spiritual benefits we’re much more likely to forgo the commitment altogether. Unless, I’ve discovered, the commitment centers around something fun.
Read more on YourTango.com.
When Fantasia Barrino won American Idol back in 2004, her life changed drastically. Her triumphant win seemed like the perfect fairytale ending to all of the hardships that she endured in her young life. But, just like the title of her New York Times bestselling autobiography says, “life is not a fairytale.” Nearly 10 years after her victorious win, it seems that the 28-year-old singer knows all too well that fame and fortune doesn’t make a person exempt from adversity. But, Fanny says despite the tribulations that have befallen her in the last 10 years, she’s in a happy place.
“It’s been a longtime coming. And it’s been a longtime coming, getting to the place where I am, which is such a peaceful place and just wanting to do great music. Wanting to inspire people through music and put my story and everything that I feel and my thoughts into music,” the “Lose to Win” singer said during a radio interview with WDAS 105.3.
“I’m a happy person right now. And I think that’s showing, it’s a glow,” she expressed when her interviewer complimented her on how amazing she looks. “I’ve found that peace where I don’t have to please anybody. I’m just doing Fantasia and I totally love it. I love it.”
The Grammy Award-winning singer also revealed that she took somewhat of a different approach when putting together her upcoming album, Side Effects of You.
“On this album, I worked with one producer. This is my first time ever doing something like that, but I’ve always wanted to do it. When you listen to that Michael Jackson album? What was it Thriller? And he worked with Quincy Jones on the whole album, it had such a great sound. When Justin Timberlake just worked with Tim, it had a great sound. It was a story and it was put together well. That’s what we did. I worked with a guy out of London, Harmony Samuels and I think it’s one of the best albums I’ve ever done,” the North Carolina native revealed.
Barrino went on to discuss what inspired her critically acclaimed single, “Lose to Win.”
“It is personal. When I recorded ‘Lose to Win,’ that song for me wasn’t just about a relationship. It was about everything that I’ve lost; career-wise, family, friends, relationship. And I think when people hear it as well, they don’t just think of a relationship,” Barrino expressed.
Through it all, Fanny says her children and her music are what pulled her through the hardtimes and they continue to make her happy.
“I felt like at this point, for me, my music makes me happy and my children make me happy and I need to put my love in both of those. So my children are my kids and my music is my blessing and I want to be good to it. I feel like I should put my all, my honesty, my blood, sweat and tears when it comes to the live shows and giving the people good music,” she said during an interview with Richmond’s Kiss 105.7.
Considering all that she’s been through, it’s great to see Fantasia happy again.
To listen to Fanny’s full interview, skip to the next page. What are your thoughts on her newfound freedom?
Just the other day, I wore red lipstick, for the first time. Actually it was the first lipstick I’d ever worn in my entire life. It was clammy between the purses of my lips, but I didn’t mind it. This notion made me completely ecstatic. To you, this may seem a bit superficial. However, for me, it’d been a long time coming.
I was afraid I’d be noticed with anything additional or too bright. I did not want to be noticed, I wasn’t ready to adorn myself with anything that prompted catcalls and stares.
The truth is…
I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. In fact, for a few years, I’ve been wearing someone else’s. I get up every morning, pat on makeup, slip on my heels and borrow words for the day, words that I don’t recognize as my own. I even delve into habits that weren’t previously a portion of my idiosyncrasies: eyebrows, nails, and organization.
The truth is, I was a skater girl: A kick loving, curse slinging, and over analytical extrovert. I was a nerd (still am) with a zest for journaling, Harry Potter, romance, and drama.
High school and college stifled me. Girls in higher heels and upper echelon begged me for tact. They caressed the underlying notions that I’d never be good enough. Everyday, as I faced the mirror, I realized that I was an impostor.
I am a shell of my former self.
I’m 5’11, with size twelve feet, big hands, an awkward smile and a stomach that kind of spills. To the stores, I am TALL, LONG and find-it-online. To the bullies, I was Sasquatch goofy and nerd. To the men who failed to assess internal beauty parallel to external, I was “alright” or “okay.” To myself, I wasn’t deserving.
That’s where it starts, doesn’t it? With yourself?
I found it hard to take compliments. I often cringed at the utterance of beautiful or pretty directed towards me, suppressing the urge to look behind me and search for the woman they were truly talking about. Defense mechanisms were my forte:
1) In social settings, when the men are more adoring of your friends instead of you, twiddle with your phone. It shows you don’t care.
2) If anyone asks what’s wrong, nod and smile. Never let on too much. Insecurity is not attractive.
3) Stay clear of things you used to love to wear, before anyone pointed out their flaws. Bright colors, horizontal stripes and tighter things only emphasize your thickness.
4) Talk fast and quick. Perhaps if they know you are a celebrated poet, scholar and writer; your looks won’t matter too much.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to confront my insecurity. I stood on my first well-known stage surrounded by people who actually had requests. Fans of sorts. I could have dropped my bitter cloak there. I should’ve swallowed the attention whole and relished in the fact that I was a great writer, performer and someone who deserved everything.
Instead, I blacked out. I let a pretend confident spirit envelop me and tear the stage apart. A train car voice cascaded from my lips and took charge of her surroundings. No microphone needed, I’d placed my morale, in rhyme, on the ears of many. It was beautiful. However, the instant the clapping faded and I cascaded down the stage’s steps; I was hunch shouldered, smirk-never-smile and nervous-wreck, shell of me, all over again.
By Jai Stone
A few days ago, my friend posted a photo of this Mocha Model on her Facebook page with the following statement:
“I LOVE this photo for a ton of reasons, but what do you think? Tell the truth… Beautiful? Confident? Bold? Work of art? Or Crazy? Tell me!!!”
My gut reaction was to cringe. I was like “oh sh**…here we go!! As I looked at the picture, the first thing I saw were the imperfections. I heard myself making mental notes about “belly fat” and “thighs rubbing together,” but I was sure my thoughts would be mild compared to what others were going to say. As I slowly scrolled down to read over the 90+ the comments, I tensed up prepared to read statements that reflected all the usual ugliness that people have made ME feel over the years. In my mind I thought, “let the fat-bashing begin.”
I put on my emotional armor and prepared for the hurtful, crude, and derogatory commentary that I have so often faced in social media. I was prepared for anything… except what I actually read. The overwhelming majority of the commentators thought the image was a beautiful! They stated the picture was a “work of art” or “very real,” and of course there was the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” sentiment. In fact there was not one comment of the “bashing” variety at all.
The first thought that entered my cluttered little brain was “OMG, look at all these politically correct sons of sap suckers right here…. They know they’re lying!!” I found my irritation growing over what I considered “white lies.” Every day we are bombarded with images of models and celebrities that we deem “beautiful.” Images and messages that reflect that ideal beauty is quite the opposite from our Mocha Model pictured above. Nothing about her body type, complexion, hair color or eye color is what society tells us is beautiful. At least some of those folks had to be lying. But what if these folks weren’t lying, wouldn’t that be a kick in the head??
That’s when it hit me…it didn’t matter if the comments had been lies or acts of kindness, what mattered most was what I had seen with my own eyes. As I made all those critical observations, I totally overlooked her smooth and creamy skin and nicely rounded hips. I missed the fact that her face did not have a hint of shame and her posture had absolutely no reflection of unworthiness. The fact that Miss Mocha had the confidence to allow the world to see her totally unshielded had totally been lost on me. How had I seen so little and missed so much?
It’s simple. My own warped self-image had clouded my vision. The critical observations that I had made about the Mocha Madame were much like the ones that I had assigned to myself many years ago. It took me decades to look in the mirror and not pick myself apart and once I reached that point I thought I had “arrived.” Now I had the chance to experience a different kind of mirror…the human kind. Not only did I see Mocha in the picture, I saw myself as well. And while I love what I see in the mirror today, I have yet to embrace my own reflection in others. So maybe I was the one telling the lie, I just didn’t realize it. Sometimes God creates new ways for us to conquer old challenges….He’s kind of awesome that way.
Lesson 1: Many times the problem we see with others reflects what we need to repair within ourselves.
Lesson 2: Life gives us the same challenge many different ways until we conquer it without fail.
Jai Stone is a Socialpreneur and founder of several successful online properties including Emotional Nudity – a lifestyle brand focused on personal development for women. She is also a highly syndicated blogger that writes about love, life and the pursuit of authentic joy. Follow her on Twitter @JaiStone or visit her blog.
Have you ever been skeptical of a compliment?
Have you ever compared yourself to other woman and felt inadequate?
Do you often think you’re not “good enough”?
If this sounds like you, it’s time for you to stop betting against yourself and come face to face with your biggest enemy…Yourself!
Goodbye to those days when you berated yourself for having curves.
Goodbye to those days when you ate your emotions with pizza and cake.
Goodbye to the judgement and self-loathing whenever you looked in the mirror.
Goodbye to 2012.
Well, hello, 2013. Make this the year you will finally fall in love with yourself!
Your relationship with yourself makes up the quality of your life. If you don’t respect or love yourself, your love life will surely suffer.
Here are three ways to start loving yourself in 2013.
1. Forgive And Move On
You made a huge mistake, you cheated on your diet and ate a whole pizza by yourself, you failed at meeting a deadline, you burnt the roast in oven… Whatever you did practice the art of forgiveness and move on. The more you hold onto regret, the more suffering you add to your own life.
How can you move on and make tangible changes in your life if you can’t let go of the past?
Like everybody else, you will falter, you will fall and make mistakes. Instead of holding on to what you can’t undo, forgive yourself and aspire to move your situation in a positive direction. Letting go of the past is the first step to loving yourself.
Check out the other two ways on YourTango.com.