We can speak life and love into ourselves, or we can use our words to do the opposite.
There is no in between. The former (finally) rang louder than any church bell in Brooklyn, or sirens for that matter. It was time to hail to that hallelujah of an epiphany.
Over the years, up until very recently, I caught myself looking for acceptance outside of me. As if what I thought wasn’t enough. As if my talents weren’t up to par. As if my view of self was entangled in the opinions and likes of everyone else.
Social media had its clever way of slithering into my self-esteem. It sounds crazy to type those words, but crazy doesn’t deem untrue. Everyday I’d go on Instagram, full of confidence and positivity, and leave feeling like something was stolen from me.
I began to compare my journey to the projected accolades I was absorbing on my timeline. This person was featured here. That person’s blog was taking off. This person was being praised for such and such. And instead of feeling joy for these people, envy eased its way to the back of my mind, whispering,
“how come you haven’t gotten there yet?”
Which led me to question why I even had this thought to begin with. Growing up with a sister who’s close in age and looks (people often ask if we’re twins), I had the unhealthy habit of feeling the need to out-do. There was a lack of something within myself I was looking to fill.
In actuality, we were on the same team all along, all of us are. As black women, we’re subconsciously conditioned to be against each other, and this is a lie to be unlearned.
Even still, the media has its way of pinning Rihanna against Beyoncé, Cardi B against Nicki Minaj, Sza against Alessia Cara. When in truth, we are all beautiful women of color winning.
Saying “don’t compare yourself” is easy, but the true work is rejecting these inhibiting thoughts and replanting seeds of love, compassion, celebration, sisterhood and encouragement. every. single. day.
It’s believing how amazing we are, despite what the world may see or feel about us. It’s affirming that our journeys are uniquely beautiful, and someone else’s doesn’t take away from that, but adds. It’s putting up self-love notes around our rooms to rebirth belief in ourselves, words we can look at every day to remind us of how lit we are!
We have to see the light within ourselves first and foremost. Unlearn that likes equate to acceptance. We’re already whole, we’re already valuable, we’re already fearfully and wonderfully made (amen!). And we have to rebuke anything that makes us feel otherwise.
It’s no coincidence that February is the month of love and black history. The two go hand-in-hand. We’ve always been rooted in love, and we’ve always had to fight for it. It’s vital for us to keep that love within ourselves. To feel genuine joy for black people around us that are making imprints on our culture. To have gratitude for those that did the same before us.
And to acknowledge how full all of us are because of it.
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Buy “I am full” canvas print