You were Taught to Hate Yourself.
You weren’t taught to love yourself.
I know. That sounds weird and you can think of a handful of moments growing up where people told you how great you were or how talented you are.
However, you still weren’t taught to love yourself.
When you’re different.... When you’re ethnic or multicultural, you’re taught to hate yourself before you’re ever taught to embrace who you are.
It’s rampant in the media portrayals of black women.
In the ways the people around us treat our bodies.
They pit us against each other.
They set us up for failure from day one.
Morbid beginning to this audio training, I know, but it needed to be said.
Where are you now, sunshine? You’re currently on your very own confidence journey.
You’re learning to debunk stigma and conditioned self hate around being black and around having ambition. You’re reclaiming the parts of yourself, hair, complexion, body type, hobbies, personality type...etc., that they condemned. You’re trying to love yourself and embrace your goals with every passing day, and that’s amazing.
Before you venture further down the past, I think we need to reflect and think about why we have to unpack all of this past self hate and sometimes trauma, and it’s because we were never taught to love ourselves.
Being black, we already struggle with representation. It was ten times worse ten years ago, but it’s still hard now.
We didn’t see ourselves frequently on tv.
Unless we lived in a predominantly black area, we were sometimes the only one of us in our class rooms.
And when you’re surroundd by people who can’t relate to you, or you look in a magazine or on tv and you see what I deem as anti-black propaganda, it’s easy to learn to hate yourself.
You aren’t seeing yourself shown in a positive light.
You aren’t seeing yourself advance in modern fields.
You don’t see them raving about your hair, in fact if anything you see more of us striving to have hair that is straight because that’s what is know as ‘professional’ or what will help us advance in the world.
We’re taught our skin is either too dark, or not dark enough.
We’re taught that as women, our bodies don’t belong to us.
We’re taught that our hair in its natural state is unkept and unruly and thus should be unwanted.
We’re shown this over and over and over again.
And as we grow, we’re conditioned to this life.
Now, I have nothing against relaxers or weaves and lord knows I LOVE a good sew in, but we start relying on those hair textures simply because that’s what we equate first and foremost to beauty, and what we need to then be beautiful.
That isn’t the case, but it’s true.
So, in a world where we’re taught that we as black people aren’t superior and we as women don’t matter, how can we then not only be more confident and love ourselves, but give that confidence a strong foundation so it doesn’t waver as much?
Unlearn the self hate, and learn self love.
Look at the different things they told you.
Look at the way they made you look at yourself.
These are the things you need to work on consciously.
Point out every lie and destroy it.
Print out photos of women with your complexion. Paste them over your wall or have a pinterest board. These women prove them wrong.
Look at those photos and then look at yourself. You have their skin and they have yours.
You prove them wrong.
Learn to love your hair (regardless of how it’s styled) because YOU like the look, not because ‘natural hair isn’t for you’ or ‘if you’re black with weave you hate your blackness’. Learn to embrace your hair, whatever it may look like, outside of outside judement.
Read the stories of the women who look like you who dominated their industries and who continue to do so.
Surround yourself with positive propaganda.
And surround yourself with love.
Look at yourself daily and remind yourself and how special you look.
Celebrate every win, big or small and take time to do so.
Dance and twerk in public if you want.
Confidence is great, and when you’re learning to be confident, you learn different ways to embrace who you are.
But, if you never debunk all the crap that was pushed on you growing up....then it doesn’t matter how many body positive photos you post or how many times you post something for #melaninmonday
The foundation isn’t stable. The foundation isn’t wonky.
So work on building that foundation up by debunking the lies told to you.
You’re amazing, sunshine, and you’re meant to shine bright.
So do so, unapologetically.