Growing up in a society where the only women I saw in magazines, on TV and other media platforms were white women, I never really found my place. Despite being compatriots with all women, I only identify so much with white women’s lives. At the end of the day, I identify as a Black woman.
When a new year comes around, I notice that generally many women make resolutions about health. Some of these include to exercise more, follow a healthy diet or cut out negative influences from their lives.
Most of these resolutions center on accepting others or being accepted by others in their community or other communities. There is also this idea that women must change themselves to become healthier or happier.
To me, these feel like empty resolutions. They stem from an underlying need to accept one’s self.
Black women tend to make resolutions revolving around family and community. These are about strengthening ties to their communities. They are also about realizing that Blackness is not defined by physical characteristics like skin color and hair textures.
My resolution is to love myself, not just in relation to my community. Cliché as it might sound, before I can love and accept others, I know I first have to learn to love and accept myself.
This is definitely easier said than done, as I’ve personally struggled with self-love for what feels like my whole life. This is something that will require constant work, but, for the first time in my life, I am more than willing to put in that work.
I intend to accomplish this goal in a few steady steps. I may not achieve all of these by the end of 2019, but I am committed to fighting for myself.
First, I will acknowledge and embrace my flaws. No one is perfect, as the saying goes, so while it is OK to strive for perfection, this is ultimately an unattainable goal. An alternative way of thinking is to work toward being my best self and living my best life.
Second, I will form clear values and live by them. I will not compromise my values for anything or anyone. I will stay grounded by remembering that I am the most important person in my life. At the end of the day, I have to be there for myself before anyone else.
This resolution to love myself will force me to look inward instead of outward to determine my self-worth. For too long I let society and others dictate to me on how I should feel about myself.
I view society as the culprit. It provides people with soil to plant self-loathing. This is a grave garden, and it is time for people to find somewhere else to grow self-love and self-worth.