By Eryka T. Johnson
What does it really mean to love yourself and what should you do to prove it? Face it…we ALL come in different shapes, sizes, and colors with various gifts, talents, instincts, strengths, and weaknesses. But in a society that promotes stereotypical images, it’s quite easy to start changing who you are simply to conform. In this article, we will discuss 3 tips on how to authentically love yourself and the skin you are in without selling out to the stereotypes.
To love yourself means to accept who you were created to be and allow ALL things about YOU to work for you.
I had many moments in my life where I struggled to love myself even as far back as elementary school. I remember one of my friends having long straight hair but my hair was not nearly as thick, healthy, or long. I wanted so desperately to have hair like hers.
The desire remained all through elementary school but it never quite happened for me. Desperate, I even asked my mom to purchase hair growth grease but we honestly could NOT afford it. Besides her family owned the store that supplied the grease as well as hair stylists in the neighborhood.
By the time we made it to college however, my hair finally grew as long as hers.
By now, I ONLY wanted long hair to cut it into a fashionable hairstyle that I really loved. But, it took years for me to move pass wanting to have hair like hers. Eventually my motive for long hair changed from wanting to be like someone else to really wanting to take care of my hair and body to look my very best.
Can you relate at all?
Well, I’m sure you can. So, I wanted to share with you some tips on how to love yourself and the skin you are in without selling out to the stereotypes. First, here is the foundation that I’ve grown to stand upon for my life which allows me to express my uniqueness.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:2 –The Message) Highlights are my own.
Tip #1 – Accept those things that you cannot change that make you uniquely YOU. For instance, your race will never change. If you are born African American but wish to be Caucasian, it cannot happen. Some things you will never change. And in those moments, you just need to accept and embrace who you are.
Tip #2 – For areas you would like to improve in your life, develop a plan and work it. To have positive change in your life only requires a shift in your mindset. One thought is ALL it takes to re-create yourself. Try it.
Tip #3- Know that you are lovable & deserve respect. If others cannot love you for who you are, re-evaluate your relationships. Better yet, if someone says you are too fat and that’s the reason they can’t really love you, it’s probably a lie. The truth is they can’t love you because they can’t truly see your heart and connect with you at that level. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. YOU deserve love period.
Do you have any tips to move pass stereotypes to truly love yourself? Please share, I would love to hear them.
Eryka T. Johnson