I was inspired to write this post after I read an article titled “The Cause Of Your Low Self Esteem May Not Be What You Expect.” It talked about how your self-esteem is highly influenced by your childhood. It mentioned how it is really important to praise children, but how children are praised is even more important. The article brought up the point that there is a difference between praising a child for their innate quality verses praising a child for their effort or behaviour.
It really struck a cord with me because as we become adults we have those same voices programmed into our heads on autopilot. We have to remember to question why we think we are ugly, stupid or why we think we are a loser.
If we put childhood aside, building self-esteem is not the easiest thing to do. Especially when we are constantly bombard by unhealthy ideals that society has created for us on how to act, how to look, and how to be.
As an African-American woman, I grew up watching BET. It was the one channel where I saw multiple reflections of myself. My other black female friends and I would look at the models and dancers in the music videos and see ‘perfection.’ Sometimes it was hard to see beauty in ourselves. Now that I am older and I have a healthier self-esteem, it hurts me to see young girls hating themselves.
Sadly, the one place where I see the consistent message of celebration towards African-American women’s bodies is in music videos. However, music videos are very sexual. Seeing Black women being admired in these sexual contexts is not healthy for a little girl’s self-esteem. It is indirectly telling them that their bodies are valued because of sex.
I feel very strongly that Black women are not beautiful because they have curvy bodies, nor are they beautiful because they are black, they are beautiful because they are simply beautiful. Period.
No matter what community you belong to, no matter what you identify as, you are beautiful! Getting to a place where you can tell yourself you are beautiful and truly believe it, despite the messages that exist around you, is not easy. It takes a lot of growing, self-love and positive affirmation to get there.
This is why this blog is so important! No matter what is happening during your day, you can always come here for a little pick me up. You can come here to get positive affirmation, inspiration and support.
I have found that the key to healthy self-esteem comes from 4 key ingredients:
Acceptance : belonging to a community where you feel accepted
Self-love : loving your flaws, mistakes as well as your strengths and successes
Positive Attitude : having a positive inner dialog about yourself and your future
Commitment : loving yourself through the storm and not giving up on yourself when things get tough
No matter how you developed low self-esteem you can always develop positive self-esteem. It will not happened over night but it will happen. Have patience with yourself.
Accept where you are in your journey, love everything about yourself, affirm positive inner dialog and make the commitment to yourself to stick with it.