In a few days it will be 2014. For many, a new year is a time to reflect, create new beginnings and implement positive changes. It represents the chance to begin again, anew. As we take the time to reflect and write down our goals for the new year, I hope that we also take the time to celebrate ourselves - our beauty, our resilience, our accomplishments and our being.
A few short weeks ago, Haitian-American Lifestyle Blogger, Paola, wrote a post about some of her experiences as a black woman. She explored common threads that run through our experiences, and courageously examined identity and desirability at the intersection of race and gender. As Paola explained, there’s so much beauty in our experiences; but there is also pain.
This past year highlighted the difficult relationship between black women and the media. On one hand, movements like Black Women Rock celebrated our contributions and accomplishments, yet on the other, attacks came from varying angles including an attempt to belittle the very movement that sought to celebrate us. Additionally, we frustratingly and all too frequently bear witness to the vitriol hurled against sisters on social media platforms. Constant exposure to negative messages about our identity, can leave scars so deep that we begin to questions ourselves. If we are not careful, the negative messages lead us to adopt self-deprecating beliefs about who we are, what we are worth, and the value we bring to the world.
My response to the negativity and my message to you is that you are valuable and blessed with immeasurable worth. Your worth is not and will never be based upon anything that you have done or will ever do. Our Creator created us fearfully and wonderfully, you were born filed with worth and value. Who you are is enough, and sister, you are beautiful.
So as we enter the New Year, here are five steps you can adopt as you begin and/or continue the journey to loving yourself:
1. Create a Confession List. Create a list of positive affirming messages that you confess to yourself daily. Speak these words aloud. This is a great way to combat detrimental internal or external messages.
2. Prioritize Self-Care. As a Christian, one of my favorite verses from Genesis is "on the seventh day He rested." After spending the first six days working, God rested on the seventh day. He showed us by example that we need rest and rejuvenation. Prioritize time in your schedule at least once weekly to do something that helps you to relax and recharge.
3. Spend time around Positive People. The people you spend your time with will influence you. Limit your exposure to anyone who devalues you or constantly tries to feed you negativity.
4. Seek out therapy/counseling if necessary. Our mental health is and should always be a priority, because it affects our general well-being. If you are having difficulty locating a Therapist, try the search feature on Psychology Today.
5. Tackle your goals. Implement small manageable steps to work toward and achieve your goals. Once you have established your goals, go after them with gusto. You will be surprised by what you learn about yourself and your capabilities on the road to reaching your goals.