Learning to Love Yourself

When will we get to the point where we realise that the love that matters the most is the one we have for ourselves?

*Womxn, rather than women, is an inclusive term used by some that allows individuals to take ownership over their identity, and not to be defined by male language…

When will we learn to be soft with ourselves? When will we learn to regard the love we have for ourselves as the most true and important? We so often struggle with our self-esteem. We treat others better than we treat ourselves.

We allow others to treat us in ways we cannot stand. What is it that causes so many of us to struggle with our self-image, esteem and love?

THE MATTER AT HAND

We’re living in a world that isn’t built for us to prosper or even feel good about ourselves unless we look exactly like every womxn post-Photoshop.

It’s a wonder that we’re able to look at ourselves and feel good. It’s completely understandable that we struggle with self-worth and positive self-image and it in no way means that you’re lesser than other more confident and self-assured girls and womxn.

But how do we overcome the doubt and low self-esteem in order to get to a point of self-love?

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ON BLACK GIRL MAGIC

The Black Girl Slay. Black Girl Magic. Black Girls Rock. There has never been a better time to be a black womxn than right now. Everything in the media encourages us to be exceptional, excellent and all round supreme.

The great side of this is that we’ve instilled an element of greatness in black girls from an incredibly young age.

The negative, which is something I speak to my friends about often, is asking if that high standard has made it difficult for us to be complex and dynamic black womxn that are also flawed, that make mistakes and are average at times.

While I strongly believe that within Black Girl Magic is the very fact that our uniqueness allows us to be individuals that are not completely perfect, I understand why the constant imagery and stories of the Carefree Black Girl can cause many to feel like imposters.

Imposter Syndrome is one I know very well. You know all those times you doubted yourself? The times you paused and wondered if you should stand up for yourself? When you went through Instagram and wondered why your life isn’t that filtered and perfectly laid out? Felt as though others just tolerate your presence? That no one really listens to anything you have to say? All those times you felt like a fraud?

Yup, Imposter Syndrome happens to the best of us. Question is, how does one work through the doubt and self-esteem issues in order to access our true magical selves? It’s all in the thinking. The self-talk and self-worth. And then in the action.

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MAKING THINGS BETTER

Begin by being completely honest with yourself. Sit alone and have a think about every aspect of yourself, think through which elements of your personality, work ethic, friendships and relationship skills, etc. you’re amazing at and which you need to improve on.

Have that open and honest conversation with yourself then begin doing the work.

Look at the things you do well and accept that you have a role in making that possible. We so often write off our great work as good luck and while that can have an impact, acknowledge the work you put in and celebrate it.

Focus on making changes in the things you need to work on, commit to making it work in your favour. This has nothing to do with others – focus on your focus.

The next thing you can do is getting the input of others. Get the opinions of friends, colleagues and family members you trust. If you must, keep a notebook of the nice things people say to you.

When things get tough, we often forget the love and joy we bring into the world. If you must, write yourself love letters. Often. Then stop comparing yourself to others. You aren’t the next Bonang. You aren’t going to be like Solange. You may not have the work ethic of Khanyi Dlomo, Oprah or Beyoncé, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t working on being the best you.

Don’t compare yourself to that one friend that always has it all together, so you feel that you can’t be open about how you maybe aren’t feeling like the slay queen you are.

TAKING IN YOUR SURROUNDINGS

That, of course, doesn’t mean you can’t take notes from those you look up to. Whether they are those who are often celebrated in the media or womxn in your own life, surrounding yourself in the greatness of other womxn is never a bad thing – as long as you acknowledge your own greatness equally.

In the most subtle way, shows like Skeem Saam and MTV Shuga have done exactly this. They’ve shown us what it means it be an African womxn living, struggling and triumphing in different contexts.

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You’re able to see that Black Girl Magic come through every time a womxn chooses herself over a toxic situation, does as she pleases and has the support and love of her friends. Think about how much this is like your own life, where you’ve surpassed even your own expectations and succeeded for another day.

Black Girl Magic is admitting when you need help. It’s reaching out to your support system. It’s being there for others but also saying no when you need to keep some strength for yourself.

It’s being comfortable with your imperfections and working on the parts of yourself you can improve upon. Black Girl Slay is you waking up each day and existing in a world that has worked so hard to keep you down. It’s you working on your self-esteem, even though doubt works double time to make you think little of yourself.

It’s choosing self-care over arguing over your existence with yet another racist, sexist, homophobe, transphobe or ableist. Black Girls Rock because they create havens in each other, stand up for each other and find safety in the arms and hearts of one another.

Even in your flaws and mistakes and doubt, you are as magical as you wish. You are all you need.

If you would like to get in touch and tell us YOUR story, then email us at info@mtvshuga.com to let us know how you’re feeling. All messages are kept private and confidential…