Self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-love are big issues that many young women struggle with. Often, we suppress who we are for the fear of being misunderstood, judged, or rejected. We don’t want to subject ourselves to the intrusive inquiries from people who do not understand us, and do not seek to.
Many a times I have been questioned about who I really am, because I am South London girl who does not speak like a “South London” local (WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?). I’ve been told that I am pompous because of the level of my self-confidence, and labelled “overbearing” because I boldly and unashamedly express how much I love myself. Sound familiar? As others try to dictate who we are and how we should conduct ourselves, we slowly begin to internalise these things and slowly lose ourselves. I’m write this to remind you to be yourself and value yourself.
According to a report by the Dove self-esteem fund, 62% of all girls feel insecure and not sure of themselves. Such an alarming figure indicates that more needs to be done to help young women break this cycle. To quote the legendary Michael Jackson, we must start with the [wo]man in the mirror, and ask her to change her ways. The change begins within.
To help you begin the journey to self-love, here are some practical tips I feel have helped me and I hope it helps you:
1. “Knowledge is Power”
Knowledge can be acquired through various platforms. Educating yourself; reading encouraging books, blogs and articles about self, the mind and body can really prompt you to take charge and be happy in your identity, and in your now. One of my favourite books is “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. This book inspires me to remember to live for myself, my purpose, not other people and what society says about me. It reminded me that to love myself, I need to appreciate every conscious moment, now. Appreciating what you have at this present moment encourages further happiness and builds up gratitude. There are many other great books such as “You’re a Badass” by Jan Sincero, and “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne.
People who project their negative emotions and worldview onto you are just manifesting how they feel about themselves. In the inspiring words of Chidera Eggerue (aka @theslumflower): “Don’t bother yourself with emotional turmoil because they’re fighting an even bigger battle with self.” What angers and influences you also controls you. You don’t have to tolerate or succumb to others’ persistently negative energies and outlook. Believe that you are great and can accomplish anything you set your mind to do. Be obsessed with being a better you, and work for it. Work to become the woman you’ve dreamed yourself to be, and as you do this, you’ll build your self-esteem, which then fuels a more positive projection of self and facilitates self-love.
3. Self-Affirmation: Speak Things Into Existence!
It does not matter how you go about this, but a few ideas include; standing in front of the mirror, writing on post-stick notes and sticking them around your room, using it as the screensaver on your lock screen etc. Daily, affirm who you are to yourself! Speak self-love e.g. I am great! I am confident! I am perfectly imperfectly me! I will get that training contract! I will graduate with a first class! I will start that venture! Write down your affirmations and repeat them to yourself as often as you can. You will subconsciously internalise, and remember them when the others come spouting their unsolicited advice and opinions. You will remember them when you begin to think negatively about yourself. Reciting these affirmations will help you put things in perspective.
I know all I’ve said may be common knowledge, but sometimes it is good for things to be re-affirmed, and sometimes it sounds better and feels more motivating coming from someone else. I hope you gain something from this post and remember to aspire to be the best version of yourself. You are valid. You are beautiful, and you are enough.
I leave you with you this quote by Alex Elle: “Claim it. All of it. Release what no longer serves you. Journey forward. Be unashamed. Be unapologetic, love yourself anyway.”
Sophia Adebisi Adedoyin Sophia is a Law LLB Undergraduate at the University of Leicester, and is currently working on a project with her two friends to promote a positive black girl community. Connect with her on LinkedIn @ Sophia Adedoyin