If social media didn’t exist tomorrow, this would you still love yourself as much?
If the answer is yes, then I’m truly glad you’ve found yourself and learnt to love who you are outside of the internet. And if the answer is no, then that’s when you need to start loving yourself. It’s hard. Some days you don’t. But finding love in yourself, is one of the best choices you could ever make.
I called it “The Summer Cleanout.” The revolution of loving myself came after lost friendships/relationships, the ridicule of my skin tone and settling in my goals and achievements, overall unhappiness with where my life was heading. I think a lot of people, women especially, go through the stage of self-doubt and self-hate; social media can be a catalyst for this. It saddens me that I once considered bleaching because I felt I was too dark to be loved, or that I felt like validation from men was my only way of being appreciated.
The pressures of social media and those that I was around, meant I would shy away from embracing my dark skin tone. I was told I should stay out of the sun in case I became “blick,” because then maybe I would be less attractive. I was pitied for being dark and I remember even in the black community, feeling as if I was less beautiful than all the other lighter black women.
However, recently it seems as if “melanin” is becoming more appreciated on social media. Although I am glad that this is empowering more women to love themselves, I think this could be negative too. I don’t want to have to appreciate my beauty because it’s a “trend” now, I want to always love the shade I am.
It wasn’t until I could confront all of my feelings and emotions about who I was, that I really dealt with the concept of loving myself and appreciating my worth. I looked at my social media, friendships and past relationships, and tried to identify why I was having these thoughts.
I found ways to tell myself I was beautiful in words of affirmation, activities that I loved to do and being content in my own solitude. Getting rid of what you don’t love, in order to only attract love and positivity into your life. Being careful and protecting my own mind and heart, started to feel like the greatest form of love I had ever given myself. I started writing more poems, following others on social media that loved themselves, thinking about plans of where I want to be and who I want to be. I decided to reclaim back the goals I thought were unachievable, and reach them. I realised that this was a choice. Love is a choice. I choose every day to write 5 things I love about myself. I choose every day to love who I am but also who I will be in 5,10 and 20 years from now.
I only hope the power of self-love grows. I hope that young people don’t settle or compromise because they don’t understand their value. I hope that you don’t look at others and compare what is beautiful and what isn’t. I hope you find love within and not because social media loves you right now. I’m rooting for you in the real world where there are different shapes, sizes and skin tones, that don’t need permission to love themselves.
Written by Ashton Powell