Self-Esteem is More Than Image
What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is so much more than just a mirror image. It is a consciousness, a way of being and living that has the power to devour and diminish or encourage and increase. Many experts agree that self-esteem exists as what our unconscious believes to be true about how worthy, valuable, and capable we really are.
Where does this “belief” come from?
We may not realize that we speak to our unconscious with our thoughts. Our mind and consciousness engage in conversation throughout the day. When our minds reveal our thoughts to our consciousness, common conversations include, “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not talented.” Or, “I’m not pretty enough.” In turn, our consciousness internalizes our negative thoughts and translates them through way of helplessness, worthlessness, and unwillingness to move forward. Our minds are our greatest and sharpest weapons. When we use our minds as weapons against ourselves, we become our own worst enemy; stifling our growth and sabotaging our futures.
Like the theory of self-fulfilling prophecy suggests, when we tell ourselves something over and over again, we start to believe it. We often stand in your own way, blocking the light of our beauty from shining through to others.
Fellow African American Ladies, it is time to get out of our own way and let our inner beauty shine for everyone to see. It is a New Year and it is time for a new me! It is time for us to start saying and believing, “I am good enough. I am talented. I am beautiful.” Positivity is the basis for which we can build an indestructible esteem.
I must tell you that increasing and maintaining a high level of self-esteem takes time and diligence. It is a three-layered process that if consistently and correctly practiced, could raise not only a positive level of consciousness, but ultimately diminish feelings of hopelessness and increase feelings of self-worth.
Until we, as women of color, realize and recognize that we are settling for mere existence instead of aspiring to excellence, then we will continue to live our lives far below the potential that God has set for us. We will continue to live our lives in discord from the bright futures our ancestors toiled and paved for us.
What if I told you that there is a way to increase and maintain a high self-esteem? And that high esteem can be attained with the careful execution of a plan of action? What if I told you that this plan of action could increase your consciousness and help you live the lives you were destined to live? Would you be willing to invest time and energy in yourselves if you knew that the end result would be indestructible esteem? Would it be well worth the journey? Of course it would. So where do we start?
Start With SIS
We start with SIS. SIS, you ask? Yes. SIS. When we strengthen ourselves, we strengthen our SISterhood. When we develop a Sense of Belonging, an Inner Purpose, and a Sense of Capability, we act as a model of hope for our African American sisters, daughters, and granddaughters to follow toward a path of great consciousness. With 2009 coming around the bend, it is time for us to make a dramatic change and do something positive for ourselves and for sisterhood. Because like Obama, “Yes, we can!”
Sense of Belonging
Finding others like ourselves and surrounding ourselves with those who exhibit the values and experiences we aspire to hold is the first step to finding and loving who we are and nurturing the person we want to become. Finding a sense of belonging is at the core of building a strong and healthy relationship with our inner selves. It is the strong and healthy relationship with our consciousness that allows inner beauty to shine through to others. Positive thinking is the foundation and primary source of positive energy. Positive energy is the spark that ignites our inner light. Inner light is the spotlight that highlights our natural beauty. And natural beauty is the aura of energy that draws people in.
In the process of gaining African American self esteem, we stumble and fall then get back up and try again. An essential part of growth, we stumble and fall until we finally find our way. In finding our way, we are guided toward our purpose in this life. When we find purpose, we find meaning. When we find meaning, we begin to see ourselves in a positive light.
We spend our lives looking for our inner purpose never realizing that it lies latent awaiting our calling. Our inner purpose would reveal itself if we would take the time to learn how to search within ourselves to find that inner voice that guides our steps. Communicate this question of inner purpose between your mind and consciousness. Ask God to reveal your inner purpose to you. Mediate, concentrate, communicate daily and your purpose will be uncovered and discovered through the identification of your passion.
This is never an easy task. In our quest to find our destiny, we must face trials and tribulations. No one reaches their goal without trials. Obstacles exist as the necessary growing pains of greatness. These inevitable obstacles are steps that we must overcome to walk a little closer to the answer to our question, “What is my purpose?”
If we pray for guidance and walk with faith, not fear, God will walk us through the fires of our trials. Faith is the fuel that promises an answer. Faith is the promise that builds our African American self esteem.
When you find your inner passion or purpose, develop it. Never stop working toward greatness. Learn more about mastering your purpose each day. Read an article, listen to advice from a master in your field, and surround yourself with positive people who will help push you forward. Knowledge breeds success. Success breeds esteem. Know that we never reach perfection. Instead, we are continually working toward becoming our best selves through plights and practice that serve as opportunities for tremendous growth. In his poem, The Guest House one of my favorite mystic poets, Rumi, teaches us about the beauty that comes from hardship. He reminds us,
“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.”
[translated by Coleman Barks, The Essential Rumi]
Sense of Capability
When we realize that positive thinking yields positive results, accept that plights are opportunities for growth, and pinpoint our inner purpose, we begin to maintain the esteem that we toiled to gain. When we realize our talents, we feel ourselves progressing, and reap the rewards of our efforts. The more we reap the more courage we have to take risks and invite more success in; understanding always that our success is a result of our desire, dedication, and determination.
We will reach our goal and broaden our esteem. Yet, our work will not be done. Our work is never done. We must continue to nurture our consciousness with positivity, seek our inner purpose with prayer and faith, and feed our success with risks and challenges. When we master SIS, and consistently repeat its course, our esteem becomes infallible.
SIS, your stature, grace, and strength lie locked and latent under heavy loads of learned helplessness, crying to be free. Unlock the door. Set them free. Allow them to help you become the woman God intended you to be!