Learning to love and appreciate yourself is difficult. Not because we don’t want to believe we are worthy of self-love and appreciation, it’s because we get so many mixed messages about how to feel about ourselves. Don’t be too strong. Be strong enough. Don’t depend on others. Ask for help when you need it. You’re ugly. Beauty is everything. Work hard. Be an opportunist when it’s suitable. You’re too dark. You’re too light. Lose some weight. Get some meat on your bones. Don’t care so much. Don’t be so cold hearted. See how confusing and frustrating all of this is? Keep reading to learn to love yourself and not give a damn what others think.
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I was prompted to write this post because I noticed a trend in Afro-pop videos and social media on a whole. I pondered why slim, light skin women with silky hair and light colored eyes were prominently displayed. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being the aforementioned. What’s wrong with this picture is that those that don’t fit the mold are being sent a subliminal message that they are not good enough because they are not being represented on a public forum. Then, seeing IG pages advertising bleaching creams and solutions just topped it off for me. So I decided to shed some light on this topic.
- We Need To Be Taught That People’s Opinions of Us Do Not Matter
In Ghanaian households and communities, word of mouth is paramount. Whatever someone speaks is considered gold. This is why I learned to not take other’s words as gospel but rather to investigate things for myself and draw my own conclusions. Individuals spew out whatever and you won’t know the source of their verbiage unless you find out straight from the original source. They may be jealous or envious of a person, they may simply not agree or get along with another person, or they may have an agenda to destroy a person’s reputation simply because they are afraid of the potential that is apparent in that person. Let’s learn how to discern what is real from what is fake. Aim to give people a chance to show their character before you judge.
2. Feel Afraid, But Do It Anyway
Easy to say but difficult to implement. This tidbit also ties in with number one. If you let fear dictate your moves, you won’t venture very far. I have heard some family members or family friends say if they had a chance to do it over, they would change things in their lives. I vow to live my life with as little regret as possible. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than wasted potential. Perhaps if we have the strength or just push ourselves to be bold enough to follow our dreams, we can. It’s through doing the difficult that we learn how to trust ourselves and that equates to self-love.
3. Encourage Direct Dialogue
We are our own worst enemy at times. People will see you heading for clear danger but won’t say a word to you. Others will have something to utter about another but when that person is within close vicinity they’re silent. Why are we so keen on speaking about others behind their back instead of right in front of them? Sometimes we lie to others and to ourselves. You can build a culture of communication by starting with yourself. We all have to learn to listen without the intent to reply. Dialogue also enables us to feel motivated and confident enough to not only voice your opinions but initiate change. Those who made history were not silent. They were vivacious and outspoken.
What are some lessons you’ve learned about loving yourself? What are some topics you’d like to see written about on The Only Way is Ghana? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Until next time.