Writing this, or rather conceptualising this, has been difficult,because I have written a piece on the same subject before . I’m a big, dark skinned woman. I have always had JUST enough confidence and carried myself JUST the right way for a big dark skinned woman. My clothing choices never offended anyone, neither did my confidence.
I don’t think I was ever aware of the depth of the term ‘self- love’. It was a term I had been strongly encouraged by others to practice, without truly understanding what it means.
All of this changed 4 years ago when my baby sister was born. It dawned on me that day that I am one of her few references of how a woman is supposed to love herself.
I made a commitment on that day that my sister will not have to look elsewhere for an example of someone who personifies self-love. She will never see me standing on a scale, and watch my mood change based on the number facing me.
I know this may sound idealistic and it probably really is because my sister isn’t being raised in a capsule, but I have experienced bullying from the media, from my peers and society in general; I fully understand how it feels to be isolated based on your appearance. She will be exposed, to the good; the bad and the nasty and until she reaches a level of complete self-adoration all I can do is hope that she lets her inner beauty radiate out. I hope she understands that loving yourself cannot be exercised in isolation, because if you love yourself you make more room for loving other people, irrespective of their body size, colour or social status.
I know I have addressed this piece to my sister, but I think the concept can be applied in everyone’s life. Self-hate is a cycle that can be broken, if all a child sees is confident women around her who don’t need society’s approval, and then she will not let external factors determine how she values herself.
This self-love idea is greater than most can imagine. It’s political, it’s social, it can help change your life if you grasp the concept soon enough. It cannot be simplified as just loving and accepting your body. It’s about loving your mind, loving your thoughts, loving the life you create for yourself; because by doing this you leave no room for self- hate or doubt.
We need to create a society for ourselves and future women, where the only thing that can tear you apart is yourself and your thoughts, not the media and definitely not society.