Even though we spend all day, every day in our own skin, most of us don’t know ourselves. Many of us hate silence—which is indicative of not liking who we are. It’s as if we’re terrified to be alone with our own thoughts. It’s no wonder, because those thoughts are often, if not always, condemning ones.
If someone were to ask you to name five things that you like about yourself and then ask you to name five things you didn’t like about yourself, the first list you would most likely struggle with. The second list would be much easier, and would be hard to cut off at only five.
See the problem?
Here is the million-dollar question: if we can’t name five things we love about ourselves (or even like) then how can we successfully attract the kind of love into our lives that we desire?
After seeing the new show on BET, Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union, I couldn’t help but think about how this relates to the inner angst of the modern-day black woman.
As Tabby (the Classy Black Lady blog mistress) stated in her review of the show in a previous post, the lead character, Mary Jane, is the successful but lonely archetype that so many black women can relate to. Although I agree with Classy Black Lady’s thoughts and think the writing is great and the acting is pleasing to watch, we also share the same concern. For me, my concern is that we will identify with Mary Jane a little too much and miss the bigger picture. As a result, we will not be empowered to be and have what we truly desire and deserve.
This, I feel, begins with us redefining success and beginning to break away from the programming that if we have a college degree, a good job, a house, and a car then we are complete. I’m hoping that the writers of the show develop the main character in an empowering way. That over time she comes to realize that her loneliness doesn’t stem from not having a relationship with a man but from not having a relationship with herself first and foremost.
Personally, I’d love to see Mary Jane learn to say no to her family and work on her personal issues to become a better person. And I believe that this show has a prime opportunity to provide an image to black girls and women about what being a classy black lady is all about. It isn’t about designer clothes or expensive brand-name handbags, or a job with a big title. It’s about the evolution of a woman into knowing herself, loving herself, and therefore honoring herself.
However, due to feeling attacked on all sides from family, society, men, media and even fellow sisters, I feel many of us as black women are in defense mode, which denies us the introspection and personal responsibility necessary to create change in our lives for the better.
Having a positive relationship with ourselves can seem kind of “up in the air.” It sounds good but doesn’t seem very tangible. Something I did which really helped me was to get a pen and paper and write a list of five things I liked about myself. They had to be character traits only—nothing external like being sexy or having a big round bu-dunk-a-dunk. This very small and seemingly insignificant exercise led me on a path of empowerment and a strong love for myself.
There can be no love without acceptance. And there can be no acceptance without appreciation. Sure, you may get impatient sometimes, but you are a generous person, too. Appreciate the attributes that you like TODAY. You are and will always be human, which by definition means imperfection. Our weaknesses are our vulnerabilities and these vulnerabilities are what connect us to one another and to ourselves. So when you can see your weaknesses or flaws (or whatever you choose to call them) and can appreciate yourself anyway, then you are on the path to self-love.
About the Author
Helen C. Holt is a freelance ghostwriter of memoirs, e-books, blogs and web content. She is passionate about knowledge and love of self. Her work can be found on her blog: http://idomewed.wordpress.com, her website http://thewritingpreneur.com and on Twitter @writesideup.