With all of the chaos and craziness going on in the world around us, especially with the latest comments by our government, it’s very easy to feel down. It’s very easy to feel invalidated. I, as a Haitian-American and African-American woman, have watched the latest comments from our President with the same shock and horror, as everyone else. Now, given my background, you can imagine that I’ve faced my fair share of discrimination and stereotypes.
There was a time when that type of rhetoric would have knocked me out. But, now these comments only strengthen my resolve and determination to love myself and to love others around me.
It might seem corny (and I used to think it was too), but the antidote to this type of hatred really is love… and that truly starts with our love of self.
The reason that these type of horrific comments used to be so difficult for me is because I struggled with own self-love. There are many times in my life that I, as a Black woman, embraced the narrative that was spun for me about my own inferiority. I felt ugly, and inferior–all stereotypes that have been fed to us for centuries about Black people. (How many of us have let a person or a system tell us that we are not good enough? And how many times did we accept it?)
Dr. King once said in a speech, “Don’t let ANYBODY make you feel you are nobody!” (see below). His words are powerful, and moving (as always). But, especially because he reveals that WE have POWER. We have the POWER to determine how we feel about ourselves. We have the POWER to accept negative stereotypes about ourselves, and we have the POWER to reject them. We have the POWER to hate ourselves, or the POWER to love ourselves. And we don’t have to sit around waiting to be validated, when we can validate and love ourselves. We have POWER, and that POWER is self-love.
Whew! How liberating! How empowering!
What’s also amazing is that our self-love also allows us to fight back and take empowered actions. Cornel West was right when he said that “justice is what love looks like in public”. So, if we work on building up self-love, we will also have more love to give to those around us. We are able to give from a place of abundance. We are able to grow love and spread it to our loved ones and to our communities. It’s when we decide that we matter and we pour love into ourselves, that we are able to give him a place of love overflow, instead of lack. Self-love gives us strength to fight the chaos and craziness in our own lives, and in the world around us.
I will give Trump credit for two things. First, his timing (as always) is impeccable. He makes these comments right in time for MLK weekend, a time when many people volunteer and take action to support their communities. Also, his nastiness is just in time to be countered with the love, wisdom, and eloquence of Dr. King. AND, coincidentally, my THEME for 2018 just so happens to be EMPOWERMENT :-). And also, this month’s theme is all about “Deciding that You Matter”. So, at least his hate comes on time to be countered by love!
And secondly, another silver lining is that Trump’s vitriol and hate-filled message always has a way of bringing people together. His shocking words, generally motivate people to take action, and to be more supportive than ever.
Despite the craziness going on in the world and around me, I am PLEDGING to love myself. I am CHOOSING to value and validate myself, and DECIDING to pass that love to my community.
No matter what this government may think of me. No matter what other groups or people may think of me, I love myself. I love my immigrant heritage. I love my Blackness. and I love my Haitian-ness and African-ness. I love my Humanity, and I love how it connects me to others. And my journey to self-love has made it easier for me to love others and to respond when hate shows up.
It’s time to DECIDE THAT YOU MATTER! What pledge of self-love can you take? How will self-love impact your world?