I don't usually think the term 'self love' is a good thing necessarily. It'd often associated with a form of psychology that I don't agree with, that focuses on self-esteem and tends to be quite narcissistic. Me, me, and more me, is the international anthem of modern society, which ironically, has chronic rates of depression, low self-worth, and body image issues.
So, interestingly enough, focusing so much on ourselves doesn't seem to be the answer to loving ourselves. There must be a better way. There must be a way to become comfortable with the person in the mirror. Or in my case, the afro that takes up half of the mirror space.
Black women have hair issues. I've mentioned that a lot. We spend the most time, money and energy on our hair out all races of women, but yet we still don't seem to be satisfied with it. It's a cycle - we spend money because we're not satisfied, then because we're not satisfied we spend more money. Is it possible to come to a place where we are satisfied with what we've got? Where we wake up in the morning, and not in vanity or self absorption, look at our hair, and smile and think "awesome"?
I think it is. I can say with 100% certainty that I've got to a place where I absolutely, totally, indefatigably LOVE my hair. I genuinely do. Not that I don't have bad hair days, or occasional panic attacks, but I wouldn't trade my hair for the world. Although I jokingly might say 'I would kill for so and so's hair...', deep down, I know I wouldn't have mine any other way.
So how did I get to that place of acceptance? Firstly, I found out who I was and WHOSE I was. I unashamedly believe that I am a child of God, and therefore am an important and beautiful member of this universe. If he took care to know each page and letter of the script of my life before I was even conceived, how can I not love what he made me to be? Every kink, curl, knot, and napp is a wonderful design from the Creator God. Genesis says that he SAW that it was good. Isn't that powerful? And so, I asked God to help me see how he saw in the beginning.
Secondly, I absorbed as many beautiful images of women who looked liked me as I could. My parents always surrounded me with positive images of black women, and as I got older, I would choose for role models people who represented me. These were women of all races who offered valuable things to the world, but in terms of beauty, I chose to counteract the Eurocentric standard of beauty offered to me by looking at images of women - celebrities, ordinary women who had hair like me, noses and mouths like me, skin like me, and place them as my standard of beauty. There's a wise phrase that says 'by beholding, we become changed', and it's true.
I chose to mentally close my ears and eyes to images that told me that I wasn't beautiful. Sure, I saw them literally, but on a mental plane, I actively rejected them.
Encouraging women to find beauty in themselves is something I'm so passionate about, because I know how long it took me to find it in myself. I hope this short word of encouragement helps someone else a little on their way to believing that they are beautiful. Not because I said so, but because God said so.
Peace, Love and Blessings x