Guest Author - April Alisa Marquette
Loving one's body, and mind, -- employing self-love is embracing one's self. As ethnic beauties, often we are bombarded with messages that say we are not enough -- not tall enough, or thin enough, not light enough, young enough, or smart enough. If that is not the case, then we may receive the same negative message, but in reverse. We are too much. We are much too loud, too big, or too boisterous. Perhaps it has even been suggested that we are much too young, much too under -- or over -- qualified. All of these things can weigh heavily on one's mind. These are the anti-thesis of embracing ourselves. Misguided perceptions may even cause unsuspecting souls to want to become something more, something less, or perhaps even someone else. Due to negative messages, a person might begin to slowly pick themselves apart. They may begin with their skin, their eye color, or their hair...one can begin anywhere.
If this is where you find yourself, then, stop, right now. Choose to silence the many voices of negativity. Remember that when you look at print ads or media images, most of that slick glossy hype is generated, when you see someone who appears unbelievably unflawed recall that they most likely are. Did you know that it takes teams of people to create the images that wreak so much havoc for real everyday people? There are handlers, trainers, photographers, makeup artists, and lighting specialists, there are wardrobe women, and stylists -- not to mention the computer whiz-kids who work diligently on the very photos that can leave the regular viewer's self-esteem in tatters.
Ethnic Beauties, today I remind you, and myself, that we cannot possibly live up to enviable images. However, we can embrace ourselves. We can invest in ourselves, in things that will increase our joy, and our self worth. We can get off the dizzying carousel of frivolous spending. Instead, we can choose to be grateful, for what we have, including our bodies and our minds. We can also nurture ourselves by offering more of what we need. If it is sleep, or water, if we need to make healthier dietary choices, or if we need to make different or better choices in friends, let us do so. Although we can't pick our family members, we can devise methods of dealing with the foulards who know how to push all of our buttons.
We can take time to deeply breathe. We can seek out people and experiences that empower. We don't have to prolong encounters with pesky neighbors or acquaintances. We can also choose clothing and footwear that comfortably fits. We can seek moments of contemplation, times of solitude, so that we may regenerate, re-charge, and re-connect, with our authentic inner selves and with a higher power. Then we can do even more. We can concoct our own beauty rituals, if it appeals, if it's not detrimental, then why not? Ethnic Beauties, let us embrace all that we are, all that we have been, and all that we have yet to become.
By the same token, let us embrace all that we are not. No we are not perfect, and no we cannot be everything to everybody. Also, we have not done everything right, but neither have we done every single thing wrong. Sure, we've made mistakes, and some poor choices; trust me -- we have more to make; but usually, we can try again. We can get up, dust off, and forgive -- ourselves -- and others. With each new day, we can vow to embrace ourselves...for the many wonderful things that make us unique ethnic beauties. In embracing ourselves, we can also promise to let no one steal our joy!