A few days ago, I took a few photos for my blog, and out of all of the photos I got back, this one stood out to me the most. I literally cringed when I saw this photo and immediately all sorts of thoughts started running through my head like "haba, Eyek, why didn't buy those spanx?" or "you've got to crop this picture so people don't see your arms. They may think you are hiding a small child in there". I'm sure I'm not the only person who wishes a picture had been taken of their "good side" although hopefully you aren't as harsh on yourself as I am.
I decided to use this photo because it, to me is unflattering and I find myself looking at it often, analyzing how I could have made myself look better. I'm sure you guys know by now that what is to follow is not going to be a motivational speech that is going to tell you love your shortcomings because the reality is that it is soooo hard to do this. Notice I said it's hard, not impossible.
My "journey" to self love is one that is fairly new. People who know me in real life often point out how confident I am and how much they love my "idgaf" attitude. To be completely honestly I really, genuinely did not gaf, especially about myself. For the most part, if I'm being honest with myself, that was all a facade. It was a defense mechanism that I used and I thought that if I appeared not to be offended by certain comments by "friends" then they would stop bringing up something I have struggled for most of my life with.
At the turn of 2016, I challenged myself to let go of my destructive thoughts that kept me from reaching my goals and growing as a person. I'm pretty sure that the devil was a fly on the wall that day because immediately following my proclamation, all sorts of thoughts came to me, most annoying being this: who do you think you are?
These were the words I said to myself for the next few days. I was so worried about what would happen if I truly worked on my confidence and really started hailing myself. I thought a lot about what people would say. You know the reality is this: women are told to love themselves and be confident, but when we actually do so, we are seen as cocky and full of ourselves. To make matters worse, I was not only trying to be a confident woman, I was trying to be a confident black woman. Not just a confident black woman, but a confident FAT black woman. This to many is a threat because after all, "who do you think you are?" Why in the world would you have confidence in yourself, not based on what people (men) say about you, but based on what you believe about yourself?
Now if you have read up to this point, I'm sure you are waiting for the punchline so here goes:
A few posts backs, I talked about how Apostle Paul spoke about love and how necessary love is to get through life. As I said then and I'm saying now, I don't believe Paul was ruling out self love, if anything, he was most likely stressing the truth that if you don't love yourself, you have no capacity to express love. So like I said, this is a process, I do believe you can wake up one day and say "hey, I love me" but you also must accept that is is a long, hard, process and I don't believe there is a finish line or an end point, it's continuous and definitely worth it.
I am not saying to love yourself and lie to yourself. You definitely have to be self aware as well. If you feel like you want to lose a few pounds or that your edges could use a bit more gel then do it! A key component of self-love is in fact self awareness. Being able to hold yourself accountable is important because if you say you love yourself, aren't you going to do what it takes to grow?
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